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CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA:
REPUBLICAN PRINTING COMPANY, PRINTERS AND BINDERS.
I8 9 4-
"Behold an Israelite indeed,
in whom there is no guile."
Judge and Mrs. Isaac R. Hltt
Nov. 17, 1931
Sketcti From the Life of Rev. Bishop Isbell.
Rev. Bishop Isbell, of the Troy Conference, reached the
Eternal City, Saturday, Jan. 21, 1893. He was born in New
Lisbon, Otsego county, N. Y. In his own words, ''just as
the brooks, hills and groves of his native place became sweet
to him, death snatched away his beloved father, and he went
to the home of his mother's brother, in Williamstown, Mass."
Though but four years of age, he often referred to his father's
last act, on his death bed, the dedication of his children to
God in baptism, in whose memories the service is ever fresh.
He was taught the Assembly's Catechism and sent to Sunday
School at eight years of age; while "at ten, his mind was so
wrought upon, by the Spirit ol God, he resolved to seek and
serve his great Creator." "But he had many difficulties to
encounter: First, that his convictions were not strong
enough; second, he feared he had been reprobated from all eter-
nity." At length "he was able to confide in God's mercy,
and a delightful peace prevaded his bosom. About this time
the Congregational minister visited him, and inquired, if he
would love God just as well if he should damn him, as if he
knew he would save him? This he dare not answer and had
not supposed this necessary to be a Christian."
Now followed years of doubt and fear, with wanderings
from God, till under the free salvation preaching of Rev.
Samuel Marks, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and the
M. E. sermons, at a camp meeting, on the Susquehanna
river, he was again at peace with God. While listening to
President Griffin, of Williams College, all his "darkness
about justifying faith departed, old things passed away, and
all became new."
All his kindred were Congregationalists, but he joined
the M. E. Church, of which his father had been a member. The
little class, at Williamstown, numbered seven individuals.
He soon received license to exhort, and though always exceed-
ingly retiring and timid, dare not refuse, and August, 1833,
was admitted to the Troy Conference, giving twenty-five
years of active, continuous service, in the following charges:
1833, Dalton, Mass.; '34, Cambridge; '35, '36, Moriah; '37,
Hinesburgh; '38, Weybridge; '39, '40, Berkshire; '41, Shel-
don; '42, '43, St. Albans; '44, '45, Agent American Protestant
Society; '46, Whitehall; '47, '48, Fort Plain; '49; '50, Pleas-
ant Valley; '51, '52, Esperance and Root; '53, '54, Middle-
burgh; '55, Guilderland; '56, '57, Castleton; '58-'92, super-
.These were the days of invisible salaries, $100 for the
unmarried pastor, and from his journal we read: "I could
bear pain and anxiety for the necessaries of life alone with a
good degree of fortitude, but to give pain to those one loves
is too much. If the Church could see the misery inflicted by
its negligence it would arouse from its lethargy if not callous
to feeling." Yet, while his salary never exceeded five hun-
dred dollars and rarely reached three hundred and fifty, he
gave twenty dollars, each year, to the missionary cause and
paid to all the church benevolences, while urging the need of
like action upon his people. It was in this very period of
enforced economies and sacrifices that he responded to a call
from .Wesleyan University, in the hour of its direst need, sub-
scribing and paying a hundred dollars for a perpetual scholar-
ship. This generous offering, from his scanty means, to one
struggling university, has proved a most beneficent gift to a
long procession of choice young men, who have, through that
scholarship, been helped to a liberal education.
A patron of learning, he had himself scholarly tastes and
habits; and in later life he found in books an unfailing spring
Large revivals at nearly every appointment had com-
forted his heart, and this entry in his journal is made on the
last Sabbath of his first year: "God made use of His word
to-day in awakening one of the worst men in the town and
bringing him to Christ. Thank God.'' Again he records: "I
find myself on entering this new field, resolving, as usual, to
labor more to increase the moral glory and extent of the
church than ever before. The years of my earthly labor are
passing off like a shadow and will all soon be gone. I would
not go into eternity without adding something to the strength
of the church, to be felt after my spirit shall return to God,
and my body be consigned to the dust." But the foot jour-
neys, often twenty-eight miles on Sunday, preaching three
times, with many miles, daily, for the week appointments,
frequently in violent rains and deep snows; with soul strug-
gles to uplift humanity; severe physical labors to supplement
the meager salaries, all told deeply on his never rugged con-
stitution, and it was evident, unless a change of climate could
help him, he must retire from the ministry. One of his par-
ishioners, moving to Iowa, gave him four acres of land, a
mile from Anamosa, and as he could truthfully sing, "No foot
of land do I possess," the gift decided the locality of his new
home. His health rapidly improved and while the household
were busy with a family boarding and day school, he set
"about his Master's business." Through his efforts the Lang-
worthy circuit was formed. Another year seventy miles were
traveled, on horseback, between Saturday morning and Mon-
day night, with three sermons on Sunday. For nearly twelve
years he was a supply in Cass and served the Anamosa
church several years, at intervals; thus giving over twenty-
five years of (often wholly gratuitous) ministerial labor in the
bounds of the Upper Iowa Conference.
In these years of so-called retirement from the effective
ranks, he preached an average of over ninety sermons per
year. . Such goodly aftermath was it permitted this devoted
minister to gather for the harvest home in the prolonged
afternoon of his life.
He was warmly attached to his country home at Hazel
Knoll, where, each year, were invited the clergymen, friends,
strangers and neglected ones, of the city, to dinner or tea.
For many years he has not had a care, but every comfort pro-
vided (by a widowed daughter) that could cheer his declining
years. And thus with truth he could, at last, sing, "My days
glide on in peaceful song." Our Hymnal was a favorite study
to him and the leaves of his book are turned at many favorite
hymns. Though he had reached his four score years, his
mental vigor was scarcely abated, and he read, walked, talked,
as usual, on Saturday, making his last entry in his journal,
and at early twilight, he was not, for God took him.
Although in very comfortable health and always busy
with his books, yet he had never been left alone a single
night, and rarely over two hours, in the day time, since his
beloved wife entered Heaven, April 26, 1879. And now he
was not alone, for besides his own, multitudes, saved by his
ministry, met him "at the celestial gates." As long-time
friends deposited his precious dust, Tuesday, the 24th, in
Riverside Cemetery, he was at home, with his own, in the
house of our Lord.
The beloved citizen.
The funeral services held at the M. E. Church, Tuesday
the 24th, at ten a. m. , in honor of this beloved citizen, were
attended by a large concourse of friends and neighbors.
At four o'clock, Saturday afternoon, Rev. Bishop Isbell
sat reading in his library, where he passed peacefully his sum-
mer and winter hours, and later had returned from a pleasant
walk. Before the gloves and cap had been removed the mes-
senger came and he entered upon the life eternal. A physi-
cian was summoned and many restoratives applied, but our
beloved friend was beyond recall.
Mr. Isbell has lived at Hazel Knoll, near Anamosa, many
years, performing much ministerial work during the early
part of his residence here, but latterly devoting himself main-
ly to the retired comforts and literary privileges of his home.
If there ever was a clean, unselfish, noble life in our midst it
was that of Rev. Bishop Isbell. Everyone who knew him
will unhesitatingly corroborate this statement. Perfectly un-
ostentatious in the performance of every duty, laboring not
and caring not to be seen or heard of men, he went forward
with devout and reverent purpose in the discharge of life's re-
sponsibilities, leaving all results with Him, whom he sought to
During the delivery of the sermon by Rev. McKee, a very
touching, almost dramatic scene, was presented, when he lift-
ed the draped easy chair, within the chancel rail, to the plat-
form and spoke with such thrilling earnestness of the aged
one who had listened to the voice of the preacher, in the
years that are past, but who now occupied a throne on high.
The last years his strength had decreased and yet the old vet-
eran, until within a few months, never failed to be in his
place! And who does not recall with what grand faith and
reverence of soul Bishop Isbell always participated in the union
Thanksgiving services which he loved so well to attend? His
was a kindly, gracious, trustful nature, worthy to be an ideal
to his fellows. The following expression by the poet is well
fitting in its application to the character of our devoted friend:
"Refined, with that innate unstudied grace,
Which changes not, whate'er the time or place.
Cultured in mind, yet modest and sedate,
With learning's mere possession ne'er elate.
Of courage dauntless — one in whom the weak
With confidence may their protector seek.
Upright in all his ways. To age from youth,
Led by the watchwords — Honor, God, and Truth.
Fitted frail woman's pathway to attend
As husband, guide, companion and friend;
And fitted, too, that children's lips should frame
For him the title 'father' — sacred name!
Herein is seen, formed on Heaven's noblest plan,
In simple dignity my ideal man."
SERMON BY THE PASTOR, REV. L W. McKEE.
"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." — Phil, i: 21.
When God would teach a great lesson, He does it by in-,
carnation; letters His thought in character. Example rather
than precept, is the most potent method of religious instruc-
tion. God incarnate in Christ, Christ incarnate in Paul,
makes this text, Paul's autobiography, possible: "For me to
live is Christ, and to die is gain." Not only great events and
great men, but good men and smaller opportunities are God's
great teachers. The reality of Paul's life makes impossible
the criticism that he was egotistic in the declaration of this
text. This is none the less true of the subject of this memoir.
Father Isbell, without self-praise, could have had chiseled on
the monument that marks the spot where this holy dust is to
rest: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Surely
this would have been a fit epitaph of his noble career and
For Bishop Isbell to live was Christ, because in his life
he showed forth Christ. First, this is true as to the symmetry
of his life. How the perfect symmetry of the Christ life
stands out before us in the gospel records! I do not mean
simply that symmetry which consists in having the powers of
the soul in perfect poise; the perfect balance of intellect, sen-
sibility and will. In this Brother Isbell was an imitator of
his Lord and Master. The mind was not subordinate to the
emotions, and the will was not the slave of desire. I mean
that symmetry which has its parts in due proportion as to di-
mensions; the symmetry, rather than the completeness, of
character. The true proportion of every Christian life should
have length, breadth and height. The length of life is its
outreach toward its own ambitions. It is that energy of soul
that carries it forward toward its goal. It is that awakening
to self-consciousness by which man recognizes what he was
made for, in this life. It is that period in life when a man
makes a discovery of himself and forms his loftiest purpose.
That period marks one of the crises of life. Thrice blessed
is the soul that awakes to this fact early in life.
Father Isbell early awoke to life's responsibilities. His
bright spirit early found what its orbit was to be. It was as
if a star awoke to consciousness and asked, where is the track
in space over which I am to travel? And then the eager,
quivering mass of light, looking, finds it orbit and sweeps
through an audience of stars, finding that all its hopes lie
along its own discovered path.
Early in his long career, creeping to four-score years,
our beloved brother found out what he was. And God, our
Father, spoke to his self-consciousness and let him know for
what he was made. Looking within and discovering his
adaptations, looking above and seeing the "heavenly vision,"
he heard the voice of God, saying: "Go; go preach my gos-
pel." Early in life he felt that strange thrill of soul that is
known only to those who have seen the heavenly vision and
heard the call of God. Then this bright spirit found its orbit
and with energy threw itself out into its appointed path.
Then he put the silver trumpet of the gospel to his lips and
he blew it. It was heard in the log cabin and in the church;
in the village and in the city, until hundreds were led to
' 'acknowledge the truth," in this and the old Troy Confer-
ence, where, for twenty-five years, he preached the ' 'blessed
gospel of the great God."
As a minister of God, for him to live was Christ. In a
limited sense he was another Christ on earth, another incar-
nation, within limitations. What the Psalmist says is true of
him: 4 'I have said ye are gods and all of you are chil-
dren of the Most High; but ye shall die like men and fall like
one of the princes." With Paul he could truly say: "Now,
then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did be-
seech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye recon-
ciled to God."
Nor did failing health turn Bishop Isbell from his God-
given purpose, for many in the Upper Iowa Conference and
not a few, in this congregation, can attest that the glorious
gospel of Christ preached by him was, "the power of God
Do you ask me what he preached? In looking over his
manuscript sermons I soon found out the reason of his suc-
cess. I was not surprised that his ministry was blessed of
God. He preached "Jesus Christ and Him crucified;" that
which alone is the power of God unto salvation."
Do you ask me hovj he preached? As *one sent of God.
He believed that as the Father sent Jesus into the world, on a
special mission, so Jesus had sent him into the world, on a
special mission. He preached as one whose "lips were
touched with a live coal from off the sacred altar;" as one
who had been with God, until, at times, his face seemed to
shine with the glory of God, as did the face of Moses, when he
came down from the mount. He sent the arrows from his
quiver of thought, steel-pointed, to the sinner's heart. He
hurled them with power from his gospel bow, and they went
armed with thought and winged with lightning. He knew so
well how to comfort the sorrowing and to pour the oil of con-
solation into troubled hearts.
Have you not heard him, at times, when his message
would open the gateway, into the invisible, revealing to the
whole congregation God, Christ, Heaven — "the new Jerusa-
lem descending from God out of Heaven." Oh! ye ministers
of light, may his mantle fall upon us now! I covet for you,
for this congregation and myself, the Holy Ghost power that
gave him the art of soul-saving. Seek it until ye become
magnets of power and tongues of fire. Seek it until ye find
and never forsake, the highest purpose of life. 4 'They that
be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as
the stars for ever and ever."
Young men and young women, have you, too, taken this
true dimension of life, its length? Hast thou discovered thy-
self, recognized in self a certain nature, and from this decid-
ed your career? Have you a holy purpose, one of which an-
gels would not be ashamed? — a purpose so holy that its pos-
sessor would not blush in the presence of the ' 'great white
throne?" This is the real energy of life. God writes on the
forehead of your character, energy. Look at yonder goal and
right early throw the energies of thy undying spirt out tow-
For saintliness and sanctification it is far better that Chris-
tian life should begin in childhood. Then the occupation
of life, its out-reach toward the future, must be righteous.
Beginning a Christian life in youth, Bishop Isbell put himself
where God early taught him life's highest purpose. In this
our beloved brother showed forth Christ. So much for the
length of life. Time forbids us saying more upon this
Another dimension of life is its breadth. The out-reach
of Christ's life laterally is a striking feature in his character.
While He pursued the goal of life without wavering, declar-
ing "I must do the will of Him that sent me," yet He recog-
nized His true relation to those with whom He came in con-
tact when he said: "I lay down my life for my enemies." It
is this relation of life that puts us in contact with and re-
quires us to meet the obligations to our fellow men. Love —
charity — is the one word that expresses this relation.
Imperfect, indeed, would be our delineation of our broth-
er's character if we left out this dimension. There are some
men whose very narrowness is their strength. There is not
enough in them to be broad. Brother Isbell was liberal-
minded and broad-hearted. He saw the rights of others,
and selfishness was sacrificed for the good of others. He was
not only within touch with all of God's people, but com-
manded the respect of all who knew him. He could be a de-
nominationalist and yet be perfectly unsectarian. He was in
harmony with the great movements of the age for the uplift-
ing of humanity.
There is a tendency in old people to become misanthrop-
ic and to think the world is growing worse because things do
not remain as they were. Brother Isbell, by his constant and
wide reading, kept himself in touch with this progressive age.
He watched with the interest of an old prophet the mission-
ary and other great enterprises of the church. He believed
that the kingdoms of this world would become the kingdoms
of the Lord's Christ. And his faith was not above his works,
for he gave twenty dollars to the missionary society when his
salary was not over one hundred dollars. By what was the
breadth of Brother Isbell's life marked? By that which mark-
ed the life of his Lord and Master — love. In this respect he
could say: "For me to live is Christ."
We can afford to tarry here this morning and consider
another dimension of character in which Bishop Isbell was
an imitator of Jesus Christ. I refer to the height of life.
The perfect cube of life has this dimension, as well as that of
length and breadth. This is the up-reach of the soul towards
the invisible. Every life that has not in it faith is flat and
wanting. Within the radius of opportunities and the limit of
his environments Brother Isbell did much towards meeting
the obligations of life. He was faithful to the church of his
choice. He believed in the doctrines. These doctrines were
not entertained by him in a cold, intellectual way, but were
living truths of the heart, grand realities of the soul. God
was not simply some mysterious force, or the great first cause
of the universe, but a loving, compassionate Father. Out of
that belief grew his child-like trust, giving to him the con-
stant faith: "Now are we the Sons of God." Jesus Christ
was to him not only a real personage, a unique character,
but ideal manhood and substantial divinity: his Redeemer and
Elder Brother, making him conscious of His saving power
and tender helpfulness. Believing what the Bible says God
says he held in reverence its teachings. Such was his appre-
ciation of its infallible worth that he could honestly sing.
"No book is like the Bible,
For childhood, youth and age;
Its story, plain and simple,
We find on every page.
It came by inspiration,
A light to guide our way,
A voice from him who gave it,
Reproving when we stray."
Heaven to him was not some fancy picture of imagina-
tion, but a glorious reality. In speaking of loved ones gone,
his beloved wife and sainted daughter, he never used the word
death. Indeed, in his home, I never heard the word death
spoken, but in the faith, of the early church, they spoke of
the departed as in Heaven.
In the catacombs of Rome there cannot be found on the
tombs of the early Christians a single inscription indicating
death, but they all speak of immortality and eternal life.
Brother Isbell realized what it is not; no suffering, pain, sor-
row, crying or death, ' 'for God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow
nor crying, for the former things have passed away." By the
death of friends the world invisible becomes more real, and
thus God rolls back the mist-clouds of doubt, that we may
more clearly see the suspension bridge from earth to Heaven,
over which the feet of loved ones have passed. I am told
that death is a monster, an enemy, but it is my friend, rather.
It is a thoroughfare from time to eternity, a passport to glory
and friends. ' 'To die is gain. "
He was faithful to the members of the church. Did you
ever know him to speak ill of the church of his choice or
say ill of any of its members? "If any man offend not in
word, the same is a perfect man." Of Father Isbell it can
truthfully be said: "The tongue of the just is as choice sil-
ver." He could sing without hypocrisy —
"Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love."
This principle he carried out towards every one he knew.
He did not hold up for inspection the faults of others, but
valuing the good he saw in them, extolled their virtues. His
charity "covered a multitude of sins."
He was faithful in his attendance at the services of the
church. His infirmities did not keep him from the house of
God. You remember the dear familiar face as he used to sit
in this chair close by this pulpit. I lift it to this platform
that you may see it. It is fitting that it is thus draped.
Here is a vacant chair, but yonder is an occupied throne.
Could we but see the glory that is his now, the reunion with
that precious wife and sainted daughter, with your friends and
mine, we would dry our tears and say: "Not mine, but Thy
will be done." The pastor had in Father Isbell a true friend,
a sympathetic hearer and a wise adviser. This grand old
hero of God was faithful to the end.
Dr. Skinner, his long-time friend, suggested to me the
symmetry of his life; "You cannot touch his life on any side
but it is a witness for Christ."
Is it any wonder that such a noble life should have such
a peaceful ending? It was as he had prayed, without suffer-
ing. Just a short time before his translation he wrote: "My
soul finds peace with God;" and thus ends Bishop Isbell's
symmetrical life. Purpose, charity and hope are the three
dimensions of his life. His last battle is fought. Well done,
servant of God. Oh! the pain of saying the "final fare-
well." Fare thee well, and may thy rest be sweet and thy
Heaven glorious! Farewell from thy many friends here.
Farewell from home and loved ones — from Hazel Knoll,
where thy communion with Nature's God, has been so sweet.
Faithful to the church, to its members, doctrines, polity,
services and ministry, it is but the fulfillment of thy prayer
that thy call from the church militant to the church triumph-
ant, should be as peaceful as the onflowing of a deep river;
and glorious, like the triumph of a victorious warrior.
Our beloved brother, whose body lies before us, was rear-
ed in Williamstown, Mass., among his Congregational kin-
dred. His father was a Methodist Episcopal, and at the age
of 17 Brother Isbell became a member of the M. E. Church.
He ever recalled his baptism, at his father's deathbed, with
He was married to Olive P. Martin, in North Adams,
Mass., who entered Heaven April 26, 1879. He passed be-
yond all earthly ministrations Saturday, January 21, 1893.
When a young man he joined the Troy Conference, in
which he gave over twenty-five years of active service, large
revivals sealing his ministry. At his last appointment over
one hundred heads of families were converted and united
with the church.
Failing health brought him west, where he gave years of
successful labor, in many parts of this conference, being pastor
of this church for several years at intervals.
He has been able to be present and enjoy the church
services until about a year since, and his interest was change-
less in the Master's work, as shown by his frequent inquiries
about the same. Blessed with unusual vigor, he pursued his
customary occupations of reading, writing and walking till
within an hour of his translation to the better land.
At the funeral of a neighbor some years ago he said: "I
have reached my three-score years and ten, and if by reason
of strength I should reach four-score, yet they have not been
altogether labor and vanity." Recalling the privations of the
early years of his ministry, on a salary of one hundred dol-
lars a year, it was a great comfort to his family that he could
say this. And he had reached his four-score 'years with no
diminution of mental vigor — full of interest in all the litera-
ture and progress of the day. He never spoke without say-
ing something, talking in his own cheerful way, only a few
moments before he entered into life eternal.
It had been his especial prayer for years to die
without any sickness, and he had just returned from a pleas-
ant walk when the chariot of God came for him, and "he was
not, for God took him." So, while the shock was over-
whelming to the kindred bereft, yet for him "to die was gain."
He knew no pain or suffering, but seemed like an infant
fallen asleep in a mother's arms.
Two daughters, Mrs. Judge King and Mrs. Col. Springer,
with multiplied kindred and friends, remain to mourn his
absence. It is a comfort to know that for many years he
had no labor or care, every want being anticipated, and his
room was visited from four to six times each night during the
winter to see that he was comfortable.
He was a poet and painter of rare gifts, and his pub-
lished articles would make many books. Besides a very fine
English education, he had mastered Greek, Latin, German
and French, in the early years of his ministry. He also took
a full course in medicine while attending to his pulpit and
pastoral duties. This would have been impossible but for the
self-forgetful, devoted wife and mother.
We would not do his memory justice if we failed to note
his social qualities. He greatly appreciated the remembrance
of those friends who invited him to dine with them, especially
since the absence of his precious wife. Mark, now, how this
eventful life comes to its close. Read this entry in his diary
a few hours before his translation: "In usual health; read
five chapters in John; my soul finds peace in God."
Amid our tears, at our sudden bereavement, we must try
to join with the poet in saying —
"And I am glad that he has lived thus long,
And glad that he has gone to his reward;
Nor deem that kindly nature did him wrong,
Lightly to disengage the vital chord.''
Funeral Services ol Rev. Bishop Isbell,
HELD AT THE
Methodist Episcopal Church, in Anamosa, Iowa, January 24th, 1893.
On Tuesday morning the precious body was carried from
Hazel Knoll, the home to which he was so attached, by his
long-time friends, Messrs. Cunningham, Denison, Wood,
Huggins, Alderman and Clark, to the church he loved as his
The services were under the perfect direction of E. J.
Wood, a treasured family friend. The presence and valued
aid of the different clergymen of the city, with the rich voices
of members of the various church choirs, was a great comfort
to the bereaved, and what he would have especially desired.
The sermon by the pastor, Rev. L. U. McKee, was most
consoling and strengthening in its masterly exposition from
the text: "For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain."
Amid the heavy snows it was truest love that decorated
the church in such beauty and harmony. Callas, with other
beautiful flowers, formed an exquisite pillow, the gift of the
ladies of the church; a wreath of lovely roses from the
Woman's Relief Corps; a sheaf of wheat rested on the casket,
whose plate bore the simple inscription: "Rev. Bishop Isbell,
the old Troy Conference Minister;" rarest blooms,, tastefully
arranged, were pendent from the pulpit, while ferns and other
flowers, recalled summer beauties. The presence of the
Woman's Home Missionary Society, in a body, with white crape
badges, in honor of their deceased member and most gener-
ous donor, was consolation beyond expression to the kindred.
The well-filled church, and many tears, proved anew
that the quiet, unostentatious minister of our Lord Jesus was
well beloved. And while the body was being tenderly placed
by the side of that of his self-renunciatory wife, his spirit had
already met hers, and his eldest daughter and his infant son,
in the land of fadeless delights.
For thou art not alone among the band
Of radiant seraphs, washed in Jesus' blood;
Three of thy home ones, waiting in that land,
Who once, with thee, earth's journey sweetly trod.
And many friends thy heart had treasured long
Have welcomed thee to Heaven's immortal bliss,
And, joining in the grand angelic song,
Thou'st learned earth's rarest tones are naught to this.
No sorrow, no tears, nor any more dying,
Nor need of a lamp to lighten thy way,
For Christ Himself in the tomb once lying,
Now bringeth the light of eternal day.
woman's home missionary society, of ANAMOSA, IOWA.
Whereas: Our beloved co-laborer, Rev. Bishop Isbell,
one of the eleven who organized the Anamosa auxiliary,
Aug. 27, 1882; a member of the general Woman's Home
Missionary Society from its beginning, in July, 1880, and
later a Life Member and Honorary Manager, has been trans-
lated to those "Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood, Where
everlasting spring abides, And never withering flowers," there-
Resolved, That we rejoice in the noble, cultured life and
spotless character of our brother; and while we shall greatly
miss his five dollars, annually, for our work and his presence,
ever a benediction, at our meetings; yet we dare not wish his
return from Paradise, even for our consolation; for heaven is
better than aught of earth, and in this severe dispensation we
would bow in submission to the Supreme Ruler of all things,
who cannot err, and who holds each human life in his tender,
Resolved, That our tears are freely mingled with the
family so sorely bereft in this* severe shock of earthly separa-
tion, with no note of preparation, and we would especially
beg our sister to solace her heart with the memory of her
untiring watch care through multiplied years, never leaving
her father alone for one night, since the absence of the prec-
ious mother, and rarely two hours in the day time. And
though we may not understand the anguish of trying to live
without husband, mother and father, we would remind her of
the multitude of friends here and all over the United States
who love her and mourn with her, and we commend her to
the dear Lord, whom she has served from her childhood,
whose pledge still abides, "I will not leave you comfortless."
Mrs. E. J. Wood,
Mrs. Jane Pell,
woman's foreign missionary society of anamosa, iowa.
Whereas, It has pleased our Heavenly Father to take
from us our beloved and honored member, who has gone to
dwell in the "house not made with hands, eternal in the
heavens;" therefore, be it —
Resolved: ist, That in the death of Rev. Bishop Isbell
our society has lost one of its most worthy members, one
whose warm heart and hand were always ready to respond to
our call, with words of cheer and gifts most generous, one
whose presence was a benediction to us all, and whose mem-
ory we will cherish.
2d, That while we feel our loss is irreparable, in the de-
parture of this noblest type of manhood, we tender our
warmest sympathy to his daughter, Mrs. Springer, and com-
mend her, in this great sorrow, to the Divine love and care,
in which, for years, she has trusted; praying the Heavenly
Father to bind up the broken heart.
3d, That a copy of these resolutions be spread upon the
record of our society and that a copy be given Sister Springer.
Mrs. Rev. McKee,
Mrs. Kate Brown,
REV. BISHOP ISBELL.
BY REV. G. W. BRINDELL.
My first acquaintance with this sainted minister was in
1877, at our Davenport District Camp meeting. I was pas-
tor at Clinton at the time, and he and Mrs. Isbell attended
that meeting, tenting with their special friends, Dr. and Mrs.
Wetmore. He was then in the mature possession of all his fac-
ulties. Dr. Paxton, the Presiding Elder, and all the preach-
ers, greatly enjoyed his vigorous and sprightly sermons,
prayers and testimonies.
During the recent three years of my pastorate in Ana-
mosa, it was my delight to hear him speak or pray in the
public congregation, and quite a deprivation that the past
months, through increasing infirmities, his seat in church
must stand without its eager occupant.
Though debarred the privilege of regular preaching, he
did enjoy the communion services of the church, and many
now in heaven and perhaps still more on the way, rejoiced to
receive the emblems of redemption from his honored hands.
Three words characterized this saintly man, i. e., Faith,
Fidelity and Charity. Who ever knew one possessing more
faith — a faith more child-like or more unfaltering ? It was
enough for him to know "It is written," and a "Thus saith the
Lord," was, with him, the end of all controversy. Such a
man was never troubled with doubts, his sky was never over-
cast with clouds. He "knew whom he had believed." Then,
as man and minister, how true was Father Isbell — true to
his word, faithful to all his engagements. When he agreed
to preach, or visit pastorally, or meet a financial promise, no
one questioned its exact performance. Everyone knew that
his word was as good as any bond. And as for the grace of
charity, he was its living impersonation. No carping criti-
cisms, shadowing suspicions, or standing doubts, respecting
absent parties, found utterance from his lips. Being trustful
and true himself, he seemed to take for granted like principles
governed all his acquaintances. Of course he was sunny and
always beaming with hope. Many will remember with what
a bright and shining countenance he assured his brethren, in
the church, of his prospects beyond the grave. With that
ringing yet pathetic voice, and with hand pointing toward the
cemetery, he exclaimed, "It will not be long till this poor tab-
ernacle will be carried up the hill yonder, to rest till resurrec-
tion morn. But I shall not be there. That day I shall be
with Christ in paradise. Absent from the body I shall be pres-
ent with the Lord." And he is, Blessed be God!
"Forever with the Lord
Amen! so let it be
Life for the dead is in that word
They tell me that my dear father is gone, I cannot re-
alize that it is so — that never again shall I see him in this
earth-life; that the voice is hushed that spoke so many loving
words to me, and was so often lifted in prayer to the Heav-
enly Father for me and mine; that the lips that taught me in
youth how to tread in God's narrow pathway, are forever
closed; that the dear hands that were ever so ready to minis-
ter to my wants, rest quietly on his bosom now; that the feet
which went on so many errands of mercy, will tread no more
these earthly shores. No, he is gone! But grieve not, poor
heart of mine. Think not selfishly of your loss; think oi his
joy. Think how his heart must have rejoiced when he awoke
m the "Paradise of God" and saw the blessed Savior he had
so long served. And when he clasped hands with the precious
ones of his household band, who had entered the haven of rest
before him, how great must have been his rapture. I doubt
not but they mingled their voices in songs of praise to the
Lamb, who had thus redeemed them and brought them to
this glorious clime, never again to be separated, but to be,
"Forever with the Lord."
Then, too, the souls who were saved through his ministra-
tions, and who are now dwellers in the Celestial City, must
have given him a warm welcome. They loved him on earth
— they now gladly greet him in heaven.
So murmur not, but rejoice that for him all of life's weari-
ness and care is past. No more sorrow or pain can ever be
his; and still the sweet memory of the past is ours, with also
the hope of a blessed reunion by and by, when to us this fit-
ful life is over.
Our mind loves to wander back to our childhood days
when we were ever by his side. He was such a kind, loving
father, ever interested in all our childish wants, and ready to
explain the things we did not understand, or do aught in his
power to add to our happiness.
It was never tdo much trouble for him to climb the rocks
for the wild columbine, or the fragrant azaleas, which we so
longed for, but which were too high for our tiny feet to reach.
When our playmates attended amusements in which he
did not think it right for us to join, he found some way to give
us enjoyment which atoned in a four-fold measure for our sup-
Thus, by kind guidance, instead of harsh commands, he
taught us to love the pure and the true.
His was a deep, religious, and poetic nature. He gath-
ered stores of knowledge from nature, in all her forms, and
from the books he loved so well. With these he held daily
communion, and through them, with God.
To him the Bible was truly the "Book of Books." Over
and over again did he read its pages, and study its meaning,
but still it was always of the deepest interest to him. It never
grew old. In his early manhood he gave himself entirely to
the Lord, and he never took back the gift, but as the years
went by, consecrated all his powers and talents to Him, and
labored zealously to win others for Christ.
Old age came, but though it enfeebled his body it did not
dim the lustre of his mind. This was clear to the last, and
with patience he waited for the Master's coming, trusting so
firmly in Him, that whatever did betide, all was well: God's
time for his departure was his time.
And his trust was not in vain, for without a struggle or a
sigh, "God took him, and he was not."
Like the ripened grain, he was gathered home, and now
is at rest.
Thank God for such a life and such a death.
Willford, Nebraska. Emily T. King.
Extracts from Letters.
REV. DR. WM. FAWCETT, CHICAGO, ILL.
Our Fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they
live forever? Another father, true and faithful, loving and
noble, has passed out of our sight; yea, and another prophet
of God has been called to give cmswer to his name and to wear
his crown, amid the glorified, who have been long expecting
his arrival. There is added sorrow on earth, but new joy in
heaven, because Rev. Bishop Isbell walks not with us, but
among the coronated prophets. Every time the door was opened
at Hazel Knoll and an earth-loved, earth-bound spirit has been
set at liberty, heaven's glad hosts have been made more glad-
some, and the quiet of the homestead has added to the music
of the skies. My dear, true friend has gone, but I will not
weep, for the corn was fully ripe.
MRS. EMILY MERRILL, RANDOLPH, N. Y.
I think of your beloved father's departure — so grievous
to you — so sudden — so sharp the pang. But it was all right.
You needed not the parting word of assurance that all was
well with him. He lived with his hand in that of the blessed
Savior, day by day. His every day life, an evidence of the
transforming power of grace, and at the last,
"Death found him on the tield,
A watchman, slumbering on his arms,
Beneath his red cross shield."
You can but miss him — his charming conversation, his
place at table so seldom vacant: but it is only for the living we
MRS. F. BAG LEY, CASS, IOWA.
No language can tell anything new of the beautiful,
simple, Christian life, Rev. Isbell led, for so many years.
MRS. E. E. MACY, EVANSTON, ILL.
We say sad — it is sad for us — and although our philos-
ophy and our religion point to the fitness ' of the transition, it
is "the survivor dies." I thought of you and your father,
distinctly, about as he was passing avjay, wondering how he
was enduring this long, sharp winter. You must have great
comfort in the sympathy and words of friends, to whom he
was so much endeared.
MRS. SAMUEL PORTER, CHICAGO, ILL.
We have followed the funeral cortege from the home to
the church and thence to Riverside, believing Bro. Isbell and
our loved ones, have had a reunion! We will take up the work
they laid down, until we hear the welcome summons to rejoin
them in that happy land.
MRS. ALBERT GRISWOLD, WILLIAMSBURG, IOWA.
What a beautiful life Cousin Isbell led! We often have
wished for the helpful talks he always gave us, when our
guest, and shall ever have dearest memories of him.
DR. AND MRS. ISBELL, CENTER JUNCTION, IOWA.
Cousin Isbell was so good, we know it is well with him.
Howe truly said, "What is the death of a saint but a translation
out of a Golgotha into everlasting life." "It is entering a
purer and more glorious world."
MRS. ROBT. DOTT, ALEXANDRIA, DAKOTA.
Our treasured friend, your father, had lived such a useful
life, we believe he has an honored seat in heaven, with his be-
loved wife and daughter.
MRS. ELLA STRAWMAN, ANAMOSA, IOWA.
How perfect the dear father looked as he lay in his beau-
tiful casket! The dear ones are gathering home.
MRS. J. B. SHESSLER, SPENCER, IOWA.
And so your father has passed to the better land — just
awoke in heaven!
"Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep,
From which none ever wake to weep."
He is now enjoying the mansion our Savior had ready for
him, and doubtless holding sweet converse with his own loved
PROF. S. WILLIAMS, CORNELL COLLEGE. .
Rev. Isbell, having been my faithful friend, as also of my
own translated father, this bereavement comes most closely
to me, personally! Bro. Squires, too, of the same (Troy)
conference, just gone home. I am happy when I think of the
noble work each of these three valiant watchmen have done
for our church; and for the honor of their example and ac-
quaintance. I am profoundly impressed with our own mor-
tality and urged to better work for "God and Humanity."
MRS. A JL STEARNS, MORRISTOWN, TENN.
We rejoice, while sweet tears are falling, that after a
glorious voyage, your sainted father has landed safely, where
"there shall be no more sea." What a blessing to have had
such a father, passed into the heavens, yet living until the end
of time, in the work he has done. Let none say he is dead!
MRS. F. A. HALL, "GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.
Thank God for giving you such noble parents, and what a
consolation to know your father had every care and attention,
that loving hands could bestow!
MRS. REV. DR. F. BRUSH, HELENA, MONTANA.
The grand old saint has gained perfect peace and joy and
rest! We loved him and appreciated his friendship to us. I
recall his wonderful sermon, that Sunday morning, when the
supply failed, and I asked him to preach, as he sat, awaiting
L. C. STRATTON, CLEVELAND, OHIO.
It is sad to part with my brother, but he has gone to his
reward and if we are faithful, in doing right, and in the Mas-
ter's service, as he was, we shall meet him, on the other shore.
MRS. M. T. HIGGINS, DETROIT, MICH.
What a blessed transition for Mr. Isbell, from this life of
disappointments, to those heavenly mansions prepared for
him and how blessed that he was not left to linger until his
bright intellect was clouded, which is far worse than death. I
often wonder why such useful persons are taken and useless
MISS CARRIE SNYDER, MORRISTOWN, TENN.
A beautiful, courageous soul, that made earth more heav-
enly, bias but gone to heaven, making it nearer and dearer to
the multitude he loved and who love him.
REV. DR. ALBROOK, IN "DISTRICT METHODIST"
Rev. Bishop Isbell was an able preacher, an upright
Christian man, a devoted friend and a glad helper in every
MRS. W. N. BRAINARD, EVANSTON.
I recall with great pleasure, the many pleasant talks with
this dear father, while at Hazel Knoll, and his life and charac-
ter are the most precious of legacies to all his friends.
MRS. REV. J. H. STEVENS. MANCHESTER. IOWA.
How sweetly, grandly glorious was that translation!
"With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salva-
tion;" and then, "How blest the righteous when he dies."
EDITOR BOOTH, EUREKA, AN AMOS A, IOWA.
There was no one, outside of my own family, for whom
I had so sincere and abiding esteem and reverance as your
father. As Deacon Barnard said, referring to Rev. McKee's
truly remarkable tribute, "it was, after all. like trying to gild
gold." His pure, unostentatious, faithful life, made him the
greatest preacher ever in our midst.
MRS. JOHN. S. CARTER. MARSHALLTOWN. IOWA.
I will always think of your beloved father as the saint he
was. What a rebuke his pure life was to those who were less
faithful. How much comfort you can have thinking of the
Better Land. So sure all your loved ones are there.
MISS BREED. CAMDEN, S. C.
I thank God for such a string, true life as that of your
DR. HAZARD. IOWA CITY, IOWA,
Happy is a community where such a man lived. Bro.
Isbell was pure gold all through.
REV. SCOBEY, AUBURN PARK. ILL.
We have no doubt Bro. Isbell is with the dear ones, who
preceded him. We have often been refreshed while bearing
him in affectionate. Christian remembrance to our Heavenly
Father. The sketch sent seemed almost like hearing again
the Gospel, in his earnest and forcible way. coming from his
heart and always reaching the hearts and conscience* of his
audience. I cannot realize he has departed — I can only think
of him as gone with Enoch and Elijah. He was and then —
like passing out of a door — he was not, for God took him — -
aye — took him home.
REV. G. W. BRINDELL, SHELL ROCK, IOWA.
Your father was a great treasure and joy — so honest and
pure and good — a ripe shock of corn — only awaiting his trans-
fer to the heavenly garner. I have inscribed a few lines as
you requested. Would they were worthier of your honored
MRS. REV. BRINDELL.
And now he is safe at home and better cared for than any
care mortals could give, in the house of our pilgrimage. But,
oh! the vacant chair and place in the home — the church and
the hearts of loved ones, but Jesus knows it all and underneath
are the everlasting arms.
MRS. REV. DR. WM. BRUSH, SIOUX CITY, IOWA.
This is a very sad bereavement. Not sad to the dear one
who has been so recently welcomed to the joys of Paradise,
and to the companionship of his dear ones, who met him at
the "gate beautiful;" not sad for him in the "continuing city"
and abiding home, but for us who still "abide, awhile, in tents
MRS. DR. ALDRICH, BILOXI, MISS.
I think of your tenantless home, but in the many man-
sioned house, what must the meeting be! How wonderful the
dear father's translation and how blessedly he was spared, in
MRS. DR. DIMMITT, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.
One so grand and useful will be greatly missed by a
large circle of friends; but how blessed to be taken, by the
loving Father, to dwell with the loved ones gone before.
Your father, for years, has been more with those in heaven
than with us on earth, and as we must soon follow, how glo-
rious, if as ready as Bishop Isbell.
MRS. ARLINA QUINN, BURLINGTON, KANSAS.
What Uncle was to me, and how dearly I loved him, God
only knows. For forty years I corresponded with him; for to
him was my first letter written. Earth is greatly changed, for
his life was a perfect benediction to all who knew him; and
yet how glad I am that he went home so sweetly and peace-
fully; and we know our loss is his infinite gain.
MRS. ADELAIDE HARMON, CHATTANOOGA, TENN.
From my earliest childhood, Uncle has been, to me, a
living example of a perfect Christian life.
MISS SALLIE WOOD, GLENWOOD, IOWA.
We desire, as a family, to express our sorrow and our
sense of personal bereavement, in the death of our beloved,
honored and now sainted friend, Rev. Bishop Isbell; while
we thank our Heavenly Father for his life and royal work,
and for that peaceful end. Foremost in every good work, by
his consistent, earnest life he showed the power of God's
grace, and 4 'thanks be unto Him, " we have the sure hope that
for him u to die was gain."
MRS. REV. DR. PRENTISS, CHATTANOOGA, I TENN.
What a beautiful life your father led and what joy must
he have had to ascend to those who were so safe in heaven.
You mourn his loss of companionship, but can rejoice that he
has been "clothed with immortality."
MRS. DR. VAN ZANDT, CHICAGO.
With sad heart and tearful eyes I have recalled the pure,
noble life of Rev, Bishop Isbell. With what cheerfulness he
endured all the discomforts of early western days, when he
was an ever welcomed and beloved guest in our home. No
other one bore quite the same relationship to our family, for
he could come at any time and be equally a comfort to the
old and young, and no more esteemed- friend ever crossed our
threshold. His kind nature, refined, Christ-like life, inspired
us with holier desires and ambitions, and we are to-day a
better family for having known him. His cultured mind,
gracious manners and purity of life, gave a beauty to age
which is rarely seen. Among my most cherished memories,
from childhood, will be those of your dear father and lovely
MRS. REV. DR. HINSDALE, NEW ORLEANS, LA.
This sad change in your home, re-unites the parents in
the land of joy.
MRS. GERTRUDE DILLON, VALLEY SPRINGS, SO. DAK.
How lovely the flowers, but not so lovely as the life work
of my precious Uncle, passed to the beautiful shore. I have
cried until my heart seems breaking, I loved him so, and yet
how selfish to mourn, when it is ' 'far better for him to depart
and be with Christ."
MRS. J. C. DIETZ, CHICAGO, ILL. ,
We honored and loved your father for his noble qualities
of mind and heart. Memory has been recalling many pleasant
scenes in which his bright, pure face appears in the foreground
— his inspiring social converse, in his visits to our home — the
dear old Sabbath days, when we were sure to see him in his
wonted place. Although we know the world's legacy is only
sorrow, we did not think the "phantom boat" would so soon
again touch upon your shore, to bear the last of your beloved
household across the trackless waters. But in an ' 'hour we
think not," our loved ones are beyond our sight, above our
ken. Could our dim, human vision pierce the dark pall of
death and see this dear friend's departure is only a marvelous
"transition" and by Christ's act divine he lives again, brave,
beautiful and young, how much more clearly could we under-
stand "our loss is his gain." Instead of sorrow let us offer
thanksgiving to God, for his grand, Christian character and
exalted, ministerial labors — thanksgiving that death cannot
obscure the soft radiance of his pure and consecrated life,
thereby bequeathing to the world a legacy of unfading virtue;
thanksgiving, that he is translated to the shining hosts,
among whose glorified numbers, he has been re-united to his
own dear ones, for whom his soul yearned, in fond anticipa-
tions, and our own darling Mattie.
MRS. DR. WETMORE, CLINTON, IOWA.
I deserved the solemn privilege of following one so sacred
and dear to us all to the silent tomb — the friend and com-
panion of my dear father, (Rev. John Pegg), and one in whom
we all so trusted, for his strong faith and prayers. Oh, how
pure his spirit was! He was always so near God and is now
a "ministering spirit" unto us. When the mail was an-
nounced, I was reading the article, written by your dear
father, "The Transfiguration." He speaks of Peter who
"could well afford to die in the contest, as it was only ex-
changing an existence of less glory for one of unspeakable
splendor; the triumphs of death are comparatively short." I
always loved this article, yet now hoW precious every word is
to me. Yes, I know where the precious dust was laid. I think
they were glad to have him come and he was so ready. Will
our last testimony be as restful and grand as his ? Oh, the
priceless memories of the delightful associations all along from
the Poultney Academy, in Troy Conference days, to the sweet
communion of these later western years. I almost hear our
translated one saying, ' 'The Christian life pays as nothing else
does." Be assured loving, tearful benedictions come crowd-
ing to you from hundreds who love and honor you.
MR. AND MRS. J. H. DICKEY, GLIDDEN, IOWA.
Your father is happy now, with the loved ones, in a bet-
ter world and we could not wish him back, but for all that,
we must "sigh for the touch of a vanished hand, and the
sound of a voice that is still. "
MRS. CHAS. DIMMOCK, ALTON, ILL.
How much better for the dear father to be thus taken to
heaven, for he had done a great and good work all the days
of his life. He went just as I wish to go, when God calls me!
MR. J. B. BEARDSLEY, TOWANDA, PA.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His
saints." The story told — the confrere of my youth — un-
faithful correspondant in age — the light of the church — the
chosen of heaven — his earthly career ended — the haven gained
— the warfare accomplished and the victory won.
Extracts From the Journal of Rev. Bishop Isbell.
Bishop Isbell was the son of Peruda and Mary Smedley
Isbell. His father was a man of exalted spirit, and in his
character left a legacy to his children, which they value more
highly than silver or gold.
In Mary Smedley Isbell was found the best of mothers
and a most exemplary Christian.
When but four years of age he was the subject of many
narrow escapes, through remarkable interpositions of Divine
When three years old he went a mile to school, and
though unable to tell whether he was a good or bad scholar,
he does distinctly remember carrying his dinner, daily, in a
basket made of white birch bark.
At his uncle's, all the time out of school, was spent in
some useful labor, so his recreations were "few and far be-
tween," but the morning and evening prayers, and system of
the family, were helpful.
While his hands were busy with toil his^mind was occu-
pied in framing stories, which he often related for the amuse-
ment of his associates, who applauded generously, not dream-
ing they were originated by the narrator.
After his school days closed he worked at painting,
having discouragements sufficient, in all his worldly undertak-
ings, to finally see that the earthly honors and wealth, so
earnestly sought, were not for him.
He labored for the salvation of souls, by holding meet-
ings in town and adjoining villages, and was appointed class
leader, at Hancock, fourteen miles distant.
His first license to exhort was granted in Williamstown,
Mass., Dec., 183 1.
In the summer of 1833 he was greatly exercised about
traveling and preaching the gospel (among other circumstan-
ces) by an unconverted man urging him to preach at Reeds-
borough, where he was greatly blessed; and later, at Whit-
ingham, Wilmington, Stamford and Clarksburg; to the last
has been credited a large society, by his efforts, which eterni-
ty alone will prove.
Admitted to the Troy Conference, Aug. 31, 1833, Bishop
Hedding presiding, and started for the Dalton Circuit, Sept.
14, and September 18, at the first prayer meeting, in Pitts-
field, large numbers came forward for prayers and some of
the most hardened sinners in the neighborhood were convert-
ed to God. The fruits of that revival still remain.
This is my second Sabbath as a traveling minister. Af-
ter the evening service many came forward as seekers of
Christ. Received seven into the church.
March 3, 1834. The protracted meeting in Savoy closed
last night; 60 profess conversion; 36 united with the church
yesterday and 20 more will join soon.
March 13. Last evening fainted away while trying to
preach, and though very ill this chilly day, . am called to
Windsor to preach the everlasting gospel. I believe I ought
to go and God is my trust and will take care of the results.
March 31. Have been holding 12 days services at Peru;
33 have found the Savior and the altar is still thronged with
penitents. My soul has been full of glory all through the
July 20. I have walked 16 miles to-day and preached
three times. My soul magnifies the Lord, notwithstanding
July 21. Since one o'clock walked to my appointment
at Wilmington and back, 20 miles.
Aug. 26, 1835. Conference convened in Albany, N. Y.,
to-day, Bishop Emory presiding. I am sent to a charming
Sept. 16. I have traveled 2,000 miles and preached 180
sermons the past year, but how little I have accomplished!
May 11, 1836. To-day have been doing work that be-
longs to the stewards; still I am glad to get bread by hunting
for it this year.
Sept. 15. This has been a week of severe toil. I am
obliged to paint the house we now occupy, to pay the rent,
that being the condition upon which we obtained it for a short
season. I must soon move again.
March 13, 1837. We dedicated our new church and
continued the services, and souls were converted.
May 31. Great excitement at this Conference session
against abolitionism. Rev. Witherspoon was complained of
for severity of language against slavery, but was afterward
ordained. Bishop Hedding presides.
1839-40. Berkshire Circuit had 12 preaching places,
the towns of Berkshire, Enosburgh, Richford, Montgomery,
Franklin, one appointment in Canada and one in Shel-
don. Rev. A. Hall was sent to aid me and we labored in
great harmony and had glorious revivals at most of the ap-
pointments, and were preaching, praying and visiting almost
Our Quarterly Conference would have made a good State
Legislature; many of its members had been Representatives
and Judges. It was a blessed sight to behold and pleasant
was our intercourse with them, and their memory will ever be
precious to us. We had flourishing Sunday Schools, with
good libraries, and more than $100 was raised for missions
June 17, 1840. Conference began to-day in Middlebury,
Vt., Bishop Roberts presiding.
Jan 1, 1852. Watch night at Root, and preached twice.
Jan. 2. Preached at Leatherville at 10 a. m. Drove
five miles and preached at S. Basin, at one o'clock; then
thirteen miles and preached at Carlisle in the evening. I
thank God for a place in the ministry, with all its toils.
May ii, 1853. Conference in session at Schenectady,
N. Y. Appointed to preach Sunday afternoon. Bishop
Waugh gave tobacco its due.
June 9. While repairing old parsonage furniture, reno-
vating cellar, whitewashing, when I should be in my study,
I am, nevertheless, supported in the ministry by a sense of
God's presence, which debars discouragements.
Sept. 18. Preached four times, married a couple and
baptized a member.
July 26, '54. At the grave of my father. God of my
fathers spread over me Thy shadowing wing!
Dec. 1. Painting the church though too ill to do it, and
hope to get through without great loss, and glad to do it
since the only chance to have it accomplished; yet anxious to
be at my appropriate work.
Dec. 16. Began papering the church at 3 a. m.
Dec. 17. Read a manuscript sermon (prepared some
time since) after the painting and papering of the week.
Feb. 5, 1855. Our house is very cold and one cannot
be warm in mild weather, and excessive cold continues. But
submission is duty and privilege.
March 25. Walked ten miles and preached three times.
Very feeble in health.
May 9. Conference opened in Troy by Bishop Simpson.
Am chairman of Committee on Slavery. Gave the Tract ad-
dress, Friday night. Go to Guilderland.
May 29. Scraping the walls and trying to paper the par-
Aug. 4. To-day, after three months severe labor, I have
the inside of the Guilderland home quite cozy; the house we
can occupy at the longest but twenty-one months more. I
begin on the outside now. But these days of toil are inter-
spersed with the delightful friendship of Bishop Hamline and
family, and frequent visits.
Dec. 31. Drive 18 miles to N. Scotland and preach at
a watch night service; return the 18 miles in time to close
the old year, in publishing God's word and administering the
June 18, 1856. Invited by Bishop Morris to conduct the
opening exercises of the Conference this morning, here in
June 29. Castleton is the first parsonage I have not had
to paper and paint to render habitable.
Jan. 1, 1857. Commence this day, with prayer, at watch
July 9. Quite ill, yet get to painting the church about
6 a. m., but had a severe fall from the scaffold.
Aug. 11. At Uncle Levi Smedleys, where mother was
born and I was bred. Williamstown is especially dear to my
most stirring recollections and to tread these grounds, of my
childhood and youth, with my family, awakened powerful
emotions. Excellent mother. I am sure thy habitation will
be glorious, in a future state, whatever my own maybe! *
Oct. 7. Try to consider the condition of the people
that I may adapt my labors to their needs.
It may be well to study the views of others, in making
sermons, but I believe it better to study the Bible prayerfully
and so prepare a discourse as to be best understood and then
powerfully apply the word.
Jan. 2, 1858. Very glad to get out of the church work
for to-day and prepare a sermon from Acts 16, 28.
Jan. 3. The Lord helped me preach — congregation
seemed much affected.
Jan. 24. Large congregations; glorious meetings; many
Feb. 2. New converts and new penitents. God is do-
ing glorious things.
Feb. 7. Many forward for prayers and God is working
in great power.
March 11. More than one hundred converted, to date,
mostly heads of families, and the good work continues.
March 28. Sermon more than usually complimented.
April 25. Large congregation. God is here. My last
sermon to the people of Castleton. After service I met each
person, at the altar, and shook hands.
April 26. Started with horse and buggy for Buffalo;
thence by boat to Chicago, then by my own conveyance to
May 24. Fearful sloughs, streams to ford, and many
perils to encounter.
May 27. Reached Anamosa about noon — looks new!
Visit my four acre farm; like it much.
May 30. Preach my first sermon in the West, in the
Anamosa Court House, to eight persons.
Aug. 15. Preach at Cass in a. m. ; Union school house,
p. m., and Prairie Hill at night.
Aug. 22. For want of team and help have to work very
hard; so I have occasion to review my course, in coming
West. Still think I did right.
Sept. 12. Began the Langworthy Circuit this morning.
Preached in the Anamosa Congregational church at night.
Nov. 1. Find the people all struggling with the incon-
veniences of a new country.
Jan. 8, i860. A good season in preaching. Many staid
to class meeting, not members of the church.
Jan. 16. An itinerant's life, at the West, is no sinecure.
My work is much harder than when effective, at the East.
March 15. Nature smiles in her robes, seared and torn
by the winds and frosts of winter. She is like a serene,
cheerful and hopeful old age.
April 2. It seems, with these daily chills and fever, I
cannot live, but God is my trust and He helps me. We
have great care, anxieties and many losses on student's tu-
ition, but many mercies.
Sept. 26. While the hands work the soul goes out after
Dec. 30. Have preached 107 sermons this year.
May 17, 1 86 1. At last I have finished my hawthorn
hedge. Am thankful God has enabled me to do so important
Nov. 4, 1 86 1. At the flag presentation of Capt. Buell's
company of volunteers, who left to-day, Eliza made the pre-
sentation address. Deeply interesting time.
Nov. 23. Mrs. I. and Eliza go to town to aid in form-
ing a S. Aid Soc.
Dec 22. Storm so furious gave up going to my appoint-
ment and preach to the household. We have had, through
God's blessing, a profitable day.
Dec. 23. Assist the ladies, in town, in getting off a box
of articles, for our sick soldiers, in hospitals.
Aug. 12, 1862. War meeting to-night. Make the open-
Dec. 13. Get the church painting and varnishing done,
for which I am thankful. Wearisome work.
Jan. 1, 1863. Our fair continues downtown, to pay for
Jan. 2. Prayer meeting. Few out, but a profitable. time.
April 23. I have been thinking much, the past week, of
my loved Troy Conference, in session. I am like a seared
leaf, driven by the autumn winds, far from the parent tree.
Aug. 13. It seems strange I toil so hard and accomplish
so little. Is it because God would have me attend exclusively
to the work of the ministry ?
Sept. 5. Was deeply affected while writing an outline
of my sermon for to-morrow, on Math. 7, 21, 22, 23.
Nov. 13. Write a prologue for a tableau, for our Stu-
Nov. 27. Had an Exhibition, this evening, in town, for
the benefit of the Sunday School. All passed off nobly. $17.50
the result. Glad the scene is over, for it has cost the family
great toil and care.
April 27, 1864. Set out 22 trees to-day, in all, more
than 100 fruit trees, with flowering shrubs and plants, since
Aug. 7. Preach in the University here in Mt. Pleasant!
this morning, and at Asbury Chapel in the evening.
Aug. 10. Preached in Bishop Hamline's class-room at
4 p. m. yesterday and to-day administered the sacrament to
the Bishop and family. Precious season. Take leave of
these dear friends, probably to see them no more on earth,
but with strong hope of meeting them, on the heavenly
Sept. 28. Am permitted to see my dear old mother once
Oct. 2. Preach this morning and the whole congregation
staid to class meeting. Read aloud some time to mother.
Oct. 3. Bid farewell to my precious mother. My next
meeting with her will be in eternity.
Dec. 31. Preached with liberty. On my knees, at mid-
night, I consecrated myself anew to God's service. Preached
94 sermons this year.
Jan. 23, 1865. Rev. Rosa came with subscription paper
for a new church. Gave my note for $150, which God will
help us, some way, to pay,
March 24. Twenty-eight at our tea-table to-night.
April 4. Richmond is taken. Thank God!
June 11. Ride three miles and preach at Pleasant Val-
ley in the morning and afternoon and at Anamosa at night.
Oct. 1. Go to church in the City Hall; first day our
church is occupied by the disaffected.
Oct. 10. Rev. Jeffries joined me in asking aid for our
new church, of the Ch. Ex. Soc.
Dec. 10. Attend dedicatory services of our new church
— all indebtedness met.
Dec. 13. My precious mother entered Paradise to-day.
Dec. 17. Strongly impressed with the strange circum-
stances that put me in Earlville to-day. God blessed me
much in preaching and the congregation se.emed powerfully
affected. Administered the sacrament.
Dec. 31. The bluejays are flitting cheerfully among the
trees of our front yard. Preach at Cass at 2:30 p. m. and at
watch meeting at 8:30, at Anamosa. Weary, but confident
Jan. 7, 1866. Preached centenary sermon in town,
thence to Newport for afternoon and return to Anamosa for
Oct. 8. My mind dwells much on the missionary work
in Virginia and North Carolina.
Feb. 8, 1867. Read 1st Book of Sam'l and part of the
second and prepare a sermon.
March 3. Have some precious views of God in Christ
redeeming our ruined world.
Dec. 31. Administer the sacrament, at watch-meeting,
in Anamosa. The year closes while we are in the church.
Aug. 24, 1868. Have an interesting interview with Rev.
Porter, of the Congregational church here in Prairie Du Chien
and also with my dear friend, Rev Dudley, formerly a mem-
ber of the Troy Conference, now the Episcopal rector of this
Sept. 4. Got Bishop Simpson, the Presiding Elders and
some others seated in carriages, to go to Hazel Knoll to dine.
Quite a pleasant time. Attend preaching at 3 p. m. and in
the evening. We have six regular guests for conference week.
Sept. 7. A large gathering at our home to dinner yester-
day and to-day, and I drove to and from town many times.
Oct. 25. Have peace with God and confidence to call
Him my Father. I feel it is a glorious thing to be His
Dec. 27. Preached with much liberty. Ten forward for
March 4, 1869. Inauguration of Grant and Colfax. Am
deeply interested. Usual prayer meeting with the students.
April 30. Set out a row of evergreens. The hawthorne
hedge, cherry trees and shrubs, which I set out, are all doing
June 8. Set out 315 cabbage plants. Comfortable in
June 15. Commence labor in the Bible Agency. Visit
June 23. Visit 48 families. An interesting day. The
good Master is with me.
Aug. 4. Read my essay at the Ministerial Convention.
Aug. 26. Met Dr. and Mrs. Phebe Palmer at depot
and brought them to the camp ground, yesterday. Their
meetings have been glorious.
Dec. 23. Met wife at depot, who returns in safety,
after eight months visit among eastern kindred and friends.
Thanks to God.
Feb. 4, 1870. I thank God He does not hide Himself
from me. I desire to have no choice between living and
March 9. Write for publication an appeal to Jones
county on behalf of the Bible cause. God gives me precious
views of Himself. Write eleven letters to pastors about the
July 15. These are very toilsome days. Hope I may
reach that rest, which "remains for the people of God."
Oct. 25. Write an essay on Heaven, for the Ministerial
Association. Write very briefly, but enjoyed a contemplation
of the subject.
Jan. i, 1 87 1. Began the new year at Dawson S. H. in
silent prayer and singing the covenant hymn. A good watch
April 30. Have a good season preaching in the Cass
Aug. 10. Finish my essay on Church Legislation.
Aug. 17. Read my essay before Methodist Association.
Quite a breeze, but the truth will tell.
Dec. 26. Horse frightened at depot. Shoulder dislo-
cated. Hairbreadth escape. Much suffering. Soul cleaves
March 26, 1872. Closing exercises of our school. Very
interesting. Do not expect to ever resume again.
April 6. Held an interesting communion season, on
Eliza's account, whose long and painful illness will soon close.
July 9. Called at 3 o'clock by Adelaide. Our dear,
precious, eldest born, Eliza, expired at 6:30 this morning. I
rest in God, in this heavy bereavement. Many come to ex-
press their sympathy for us.
July 12. Think much of our dear, departed daughter
and believe her blissful in the Paradise of God. Write a
memorial to send to our friends. Others may have known as
pure and perfect a life as our Eliza's, but we never did.
Nov. 16. Finished reading the life of Grant. Interested
and learned some things I had not known. Read life of
Father Taylor. Have been enjoying a most refreshing visit
for a few days, at the home of Mrs. Sterling, (Dixon, 111.,) a
friend of our early years, and after whom our precious Eliza
Dec. 6. Got my corn all husked and in the granary and
the husks stacked.
Dec. 25. This is reckoned the day of Christ's nativity.
It surely should be a sacred festival. Am striving to have
just views of the value of His incarnation. The real day of
Christ's birth glorifies all days.
Jan. i. 1873. Attended the meeting of the colored peo-
ple, who celebrate the anniversary of the Emancipation Proc-
July 13. It is sweet to trust in the living God and feel
he cares for me. He is good and gracious.
July 27. Sister Hartsough gave us an excellent sermon
on being "Filled with the Spirit." God has called this sister
to preach the word^ as surely as He has called me.
Aug. 27. The District Conference, to-day, at Monticel-
lo, voted Sister Hartsough license to preach.
Sept. 28. I delight in studying God's word. Had a
good season preaching in the Penitentiary to the prisoners,
Dec. 9. Picked more than 20 bushels of ears of corn,
besides the care of my cows and horse. In picking corn,
these many days, God has given me peace.
Dec. 20. Thanks! fervent thanks to my Heavenly
Father for all the blessings which He is bestowing upon me,
on this anniversary of my birth.
Dec. 22. These days of wearying toil are. sweetened by
an abiding sense of God's favor. I find I need that gracious
sense now, as much as when employed in constant minister-
ial labor and I am thankful it is given me.
March 3, 1874. Commence a sketch on "The Prodigal
Returning to Reason." Have had the theme in view for
some days, as a suitable one for my discourse at the Peniten-
tiary next Sunday.
May 28. Walk out to the bluffs, near Prairie Du Chien,
and had very interesting views from the summit, which I
greatly enjoyed. At the base of the bluffs was an orchard of
crab apple trees in full bloom. Very beautiful and fragrant
indeed. Left our kindred for Lansing, on evening boat, ar-
riving at midnight. Pleasant passage. Read the gospel ac-
cording to St. Luke.
May 30. Mr. Blum procured me a fine fishing tackle
and bait, and I set off on a fishing excursion. Walked sev-
eral miles to the head of one branch of the stream. It was
a cold spring. Went up the other branch till the stream
was small. Caught quite a string of fish.
June 1. Visit the bluffs at S. Lansing, one of them, the
Lover's Leap. The views are very beautiful. Our kindred
took us for several hours ride, which was very pleasant. In-
terested in the boats and rafts, the extensive lumber opera-
tions and the bluffs across the river.
Oct. 20. Had a very impressive dream of seeing my own
precious Eliza, last night. It remains vividly in my mind.
Jan. 24, 1875. Read the Book of Daniel. Deeply in-
terested in it, as I have been for many years. How wonder-
fully God graciously appears on behalf of those who trust in
Feb. 7. As it is 21 degrees below zero, do not go to
church, but desire to spend these sacred hours, to the glory
of Him who instituted the day, on man's behalf. Read 20
chapters in Luke.
Aug. 31, Take leave of our friends. We have been
very kindly and hospitably entertained and had a most enjoy-
able camp meeting here at Farley. We were the guests of
the Congregational minister, but invited to many tents, for a
meal, with other kind friends. In the past two weeks have
had most delightful visits with dear friends at Valley Farm,
Independence, Fayette, Manchester, Worthington and Ep-
worth, driving leisurely along in our carriage.
Sept. 2. My soul cries out after the living God. He is
the light of my life.
Sept. 4. We have been graciously favored in all our
visits, and at camp meeting, and now have a beautiful day
for our return home.
Dec. 28. God helped me in preaching the word. Sev-
eral arose for prayers.
Jan i, 1876. Thankful to God that I am spared to see
another year. Am aiding Rev. Smedley in his protracted
Feb. 25. Hear Colfax's lecture on Lincoln. Good.
July 4. Hasten my morning work to get down town to
Sister Van Cott's last meeting in our church. A very inter-
esting and affecting service. Her labors have been suc-
July 5. My brother Samuel dead. Gone to be forever
with the Lord.
, Oct. 23. On returning from her school to-night, Ade-
laide gave me a round trip ticket to the Centennial, and has
everything ready for the journey.
Oct. 24. Took 6 a. m. Train for Chicago, then by B.
Oct. 25. As comfortable a night as could be expected.
Thankful for the return of the light. Scenery wild but inter-
esting; mountains grand, valleys deep; some sections fertile
and well cultivated. Trusting in God I have peace. Cum-
berland is a very picturesque town. Reach Washington in
Oct. 26. Take a look at the Metropolitan and other
churches, public buildings and the Capitol.
Oct. 27. Spent the day at Mt. Vernon, Washington's
tomb and surroundings, the house, contents and grounds.
Time profitably spent and the scenery seemed even more in-
teresting and delightful, when returning, than when going.
Oct. 28. Entire day given to Smithsonian Institute and
departments in the Capitol.
Oct. 29. Heard my old friend, Dr. Newman, preach on
the "Origin and Constitution of Man." God is my abiding
Oct. 30. Visit President's house, Lafayette Park, State
and Treasury Departments. Reach Philadelphia 8:30 p. m.
Nov. 5. Preached for Bro. Pancost at 10:30 a. m., in
St. George, and God blessed me in preaching His word. A
pleasant and interested congregation. The people gave me a
friendly greeting. After the Centennial, this church and In-
dependence Hall, are to me, the most interesting part of
Dec. 31. Reach our church in good time and walk from
there to Lockwood's S. H. where I preached twice to good
congregations: evidence of a Divine work. A number of
young converts. Get home at 10 o'clock. A good day.
Jan. 1, 1877. Thanks to God that I see the opening of
another year. Four below zero, yet a good attendance, at
Lockwood's, where I preached to night. Home 10:30.
Jan. 5. Read Ann Eliza Young's expose of Mormonism.
Her truthful picture is terrible to contemplate. It gives to
the most frightful and loathsome crimes the sanction of re-
ligion — makes them stand out as duties.
May 30. This is the day for decorating the soldiers'
graves. I put flowers on the graves of Col. Springer and
May 31. Gather up my diaries and put down some
items of Methodistic history, which have come under my ob-
June 3. Excellent sermon. Glorious class meeting.
June 25. Work a long time in the pouring rain, putting
up fence along the grass lot. Cattle got in and destroyed the
corn that looked so nicely, yesterday morning. These are
trying times. A portion of the front nard fence down, and
also on the east side of the corn lot.
Nov. 15. Read Taylor's Key to Romans. Very able
and mostly correct, but Dr. Clark makes some corrections.
Dec. 20. This is the anniversary of my birth. God has
cared for me, these many years, and I desire to recognize His
mercy and goodness and love him with all my heart.
Feb. 2, 1878. Reached home from Center Junction this
afternoon. Preached twice Sunday and every night since, for
the Pastor, in his protracted meeting. Very interesting serv-
ices, and God moved the people.
May 7. My sister Almira passed away very peacefully,
yesterday. I arrived at Mechanicsville as the people were
assmbling for the funeral. The floral decorations were beau-
tiful. Glad that Bro. Lusk came to officiate.
May 8. My soul cleaves to God and finds peace. Talk
much about the departed sister and mother.
June 16. Have finished reading the Bible, with Clark's
Commentary, for the fifth time.
Sept. 18. Conclude to go fishing to-day. Fish near the
R. R. bridge, across the Buffalo. Had pretty good success.
Caught three blackfish, three suckers and one sunfish. Sev-
eral of them quite large. Quite satisfied with the results of
the annual excursion.
Dec. 20. God has wonderfully preserved me. O how
many times I have been near death. Thanks to God, He has
spared me. While cutting wood, Sisters Gould and Jacob
Dietz and Sister Benj. White called and presented me $13.75
as a birthday gift, from several friends. This was a most
grateful surprise. God bless them.
Jan 1, 1879. An egg cup and a spectacle case, made of
olive wood and obtained in Jerusalem, are my New Year's
gifts, with a cane of Jordan wood and another of ebony,
bought in Turin, Italy.
Jan. 17. A great fog turned to frost, clothing the trees
and shrubs with an enchanting foliage.
Jan. 25. Mrs. Isbell coughs badly. May God grant her
rest and relief for the night! He is the only efficient helper
and what encouragement He gives us to come to Him and
trust in Him.
Feb. 15. We have trials, afflictions and sorrows, but in
the midst of all, God is gracious.
April 25. Mrs. Isbell is very low this morning. Mrs.
Isbell passed away at 4:25 p. m.
April 26. A most beautiful morning. Peaceful in soul.
The remains, of the precious one, lie in beautiful repose.
April 27. A portion of the service read at our home and
we went to the church this Sunday morning where all the
ministers took part in the exercises.
May 11, 1879. A large congregation. Abundant proof
of the good work God has wrought, in this region. He helped
me in preaching.
June 14. Enjoy some excellent piano music with sing-
ing of favorite pieces, by Emily, in her new home, in Cas-
cade. God is good.
June 18. Goto West Cass to the Sunday School picnic.
Nice gathering, grove very beautiful and an unusually pleas-
ant season of the kind. Opened the speaking, after prayer
July 4. This is our country's natal day and a vast crowd
of people have been celebrating in town. I have been doing
the duties belonging to me for the day and God has dealt
graciously with me while so engaged.
July 24. Go to the Mondel House and take a bath
and treatment. Quite a process. Think the means rational.
Drink at the artesian well several times. At prayer meeting.
July 25. Walk out to the bluffs. Follow, wonderingly,
the cattle tracks, to the summit. Glorious views!
Aug. r. Take leave of my friends and kindred in Prai-
rie Du Chien and close my efforts, for my health, at the Sani-
Sept 7. Preached this morning, here, in Mechanicsville,
from Heb. 9; 27-28, and at Valley Chapel this afternoon, four
Dec. 25. I am kindly entertained in the home of my
longtime precious friends, Wetmore, and everything is present
to make me grateful to these friends and to my Heavenly
Dec. 26. All my wants are supplied and I am free from
every care. God deals graciously with me.
Dec. 31. Preached one of the sermons in the Clinton
M. E. church, at the watch meeting to-night.
The other 12 journals, from 1880 to Jan. 1, 1893 were
sent to Mrs. King, shortly after the death of her father, hence
the compiler can furnish no further extracts.
Jan. 21, 1893. In usual health. Read live chapters in
St. John. My soul finds peace in God.
Extracts from Letters of Rev. Bishop Isbell
to Mrs. Isbell.
Killings worth, Conn., Aug. 29, 1834.
I had a short sail this morning, but only far enough to
know how it seems to be upon the ocaen. I must give up
going out of sight of land, unless I go to Europe, for the
coasters do not go out so far on the water.
There is a whole ocean of physic here, and the sea
breezes are better than stomach bitters, so I hope to receive
permanent help. In spite of my resolution, I have promised
to preach next Sabbath. This is a pleasant region and the
village is like all Yankee villages; nothing very attractive.
There is little beautiful scenery from Hinsdale to Westfield,
the vision being hemmed in by the mountains, to the sea
shore. I came from Sumeld, to Hartford, through Windsor,
down the west side of the river. From the smoke rising
from an old black building, I should say the Devil had one
ruin house here. Hartford is a pretty place and next is
Wethersfield, the far famed onion town. This is a most
beautiful place and many of its buildings are elegant. Mid-
dleton is well worthy its reputation and while my horse was
eating and resting, I visited the University buildings; all
pleasantly located and grand in appearance.
I have bean peaceful and happy since leaving home and
believe this effort, to improve my health, is in the path of
East Boston, June 10, 1838.
I had quite a mind to return when at Shelburne, and
still stronger inclination to do so, at Middlebury, for I know
you needed relaxation and change of air as much as myself,
and felt I must be with you to share our common trials and
gloomy prospects. But I reflected, my sensitive, bleeding
mind was almost beyond my own control and so far from
mitigating I should only increase your anxieties. Through
the gracious providence of God I am resting, more pleasantly
situated than I could possibly have expected. Here I can
take the sea air, bathe in salt water, or fish, at my leisure.
My board costs me nothing and I am not cooped up in a close
city, but have green fields, water and islands on the north,
south and east.
Prospects are favorable for improvement in health, but,
to be % honest, if I were at home, I would not exchange the
pleasures it furnishes, for all the hopes of renewed strength.
Absence is the true gauge to test the temperature of my affec-
tions for yourself. Now that I am here I mean to make the
best of the chance and shall stay two weeks.
Kind friends entertained me on my journey, at Shel-
bourne, Weybridge, Middlebury, Brandon, Pittsford, Rut-
land, Mt. Holly, Ludlow and Springfield. I mention this as
you know how little money I had, but I got along the rest of
the way, for God took care of me.
If you had been with me, it would have been one of the
most delightful trips I ever took. Through Vermont I rode
constantly amidst a profusion of verdure and blossoms and
the sweet vocalists, in the branches, almost enchanted the
traveler. The groves gracefully bowed their plumes to the
breeze, and in reverence listened to its mysterious whisper-
ings. The little streams smiled joyously, while the sunbeams
scattered their treasures into their bosoms; but when their
course was impeded by adamantine barriers, and the sunlight
was excluded by the overhanging foliage, then their notes be-
came melancholy and they lashed themselves into fury in
their efforts to destroy their obstacles.
How like our youth! When all is smiling and care has
never reached the heart; when adverse winds are buried in
their distant caves ; when every prospect is adorned with
beauty, then, man is happy. But his early dreams are soon
scattered and life's dread realities wither up his hopes with
their icy touch. As I followed these streams till they were
lost in the Black River and that, with Connecticut, and that,
in the fathomless ocean, I said in my heart, here is a beauti-
ful picture of human life, soon to be swallowed up in eternity.
All of New Hampshire is not so pleasant, the region
about old Monadnoc is quite sterile, but grows delightful
again as I near Massachusetts. I have enjoyed a spirit of
prayer in all my journeyings. Don't give yourself any uneasi-
ness about our temporal affairs. God will provide. I am
tempted to bring' my letter myself.
Saratoga Springs, Sept. 15, 1840.
I reached Weybridge, Tuesday, and spent two very happy
days at camp meeting. The preachers enjoyed great liberty
in preaching and the exercises of God's people were character-
ized by deep fervor.
But what astonished and overwhelmed me was the
smiles so universally bestowed upon my poor self. Who
would have thought that a place, where the storms of persecu-
tion howled so fiercely, would be the one where I should need
much prayer to be firm amidst a flood of complacency?
Hundreds came, one after another, with countenances
irradiated with the light of friendship's torch, to offer the
fervent salutation. And some came, evidently, to claim the
privilege of friends, on the ground of former opposition.
May God give me grace to endure sunshine, as well as storm!
There were multiplied inquiries about you. You may be
sure that whatever you have sacrificed, you have accumulated
a large number of friends, in your itinerating.
I confess it was a cross not to preach, Sunday, but I
took it up, as an imperious duty. I intended to have brought
my french books, to study, in my absence, but it may be
best, I forgot them. I would lean upon the Lord in all
Great mass meeting here yesterday. Hon. Wright, mem-
ber of congress, gave an excellent political speech, replete
with good sense. Mr. Davis succeeded him, who was more
eloquent, but less candid. The meeting was an honor to the
party, but this political camp meeting did not prove a
spiritual blessing to me. I have ceased to really enjoy any
meetings that are not cheered by the influences of the Holy
Oh, when will men do all they do to the Glory of God ?
While I am drinking spring water, take all the comfort
you can with the plums and watermelons. Keep near the
New York City, July 21, 1841.
Of our lively Conference doings, in Albany, with our
slavery Bishop Soule, in the chair, I need write no more. I
heard Dr. Peck preach an old sermon here Sunday morning,
and, in the evening, I preached for the radicals, (non-slaver)')
and was invited to stop with a very wealthy brother, who has
left the M. E. church, on account of slavery. They gave me
to understand they had some fine churches, without posters^
and would be pleased to have me take one, in Cleveland, Ohio,
where salary and surroundings, were all I could desire. But
1 guess I shall suffer still more before I leave the old church.
I was so ill yesterday I thought I should die in the streets. I
went to the infirmary and was cupped. How I shall get along
I do not know, but I pray the good Lord to direct. My coat
and pants have been calling my sewing powers into requisition
to-day. I shall be home as soon, as possible, if God spares my
life. I long to be among my Sheldon Circuit people. Tell
Mother Martin to give herself no uneasiness about her affairs.
She shall never know want if I live, and can care for her.
Conference, Troy, N. Y., May 30, 1843.
I have been anxious about you ever since I left home. I
wish you were here and am not certain but you better give up
your school and come ; it would be better than to sicken and
die under your severe labors. I am tempted to set my face
homeward, but still it would be cruel to leave Brother Bates
to bear his approaching trial, (for preaching against slavery)
Your old friends remember you, with the kindest feeling.
Disappointment was everywhere visible, at you not being with
me. I visited Sister Baker, in the big house. All is elegant
there save the mistress, who is the same gracious, lovely
hostess she used to be.
I reached Adams Monday, where I first saw you and
then, home, with all its interest, came rushing into my mind.
A good revival is in progress, in which all the churches have
united. I preached nearly two hours, on Baptism, and have
been glad to learn, from many, "that the arguments used
I have an excellent home, nearly opposite the church,
where the conference is held, Bishop Waugh, presiding. I
am writing in an ample room, richly carpeted, and furnished
with a mahogany table and cane seated, maple chairs. So
much for being a Bishop ! ! Brother Bates is still in the
furnace. I have never said much in Conference, but now,
unyielding duty will oblige me to defend this servant of God.
That defence may bring a storm upon my own head.
May God help in this hour of extremity. Do not fail to pray
about this thing. You say well, ' 'we have much to be thank-
ful for." God hath cared for and helped us in a thousand
ways and if we are faithful to God and steadfast in doing good,
we shall see better days. I hope so, if it pleases God! Tell
the good folks, at St. Albans, that I shall be glad to return,
to my pleasant charge.
Conference, Troy, June 7, 1843.
We expect a report from the committee on Rev. Bates' case
to-morrow. "Uncle Toby," (Rev. T. Spicer) has an immense
amount of trouble, with his preachers and I hope he is Presiding
Elder for the last time. At the fourth effort he was elected dele-
gate to General Conference. Brother Bates had a good many
votes and I hope you will not be overcome when you learn
your husband had many votes, successively, to the last. But
as I was appointed to preach to this Conference, that will do,
till I am older. Dr. Olin is here and spoke with great ability.
It will be impossible to reach home for Sunday and so I am
to be at Saratoga that day. I was in hopes that our people,
in St. Albans, would make an effort to pay the last years
salary. But we are at the mercy of the people and must abide
their decisions. I wish I was by our fireside, at the parson-
age, with you. Will it not enhance the bliss of eternity to
live together, in holy love here, and then renew our fellowship
Will not husbands and wives, who have lived happily
here, enjoy each others society, in a peculiar manner, in
Heaven? I have thought much on this question and believe
the answer must be in the affirmative. If so, how important
the presence of deep, fervent and abiding love, in matrimony.
What a halo of glory it will throw around the heavenly state!
God grant we may feel it so when we meet in another world!
Let love be the luminary that shall dispel the gloom of life's
pathway, throw its beams around the dying hour, and shed
its glory in the eternal world.
My situation, here at the Springs, is remarkably pleas-
ant, but there is, after all, "No place like home," to the man
who is well married.
Colchester, Vt. , Jan. 29, 1844.
I spent most of last week at Barnet. Some were con-
verted and others earnestly seeking the Lord. Had a pleas-
ant tarry at Plainfield, where they "were anxious to meet Sis-
terolsbell." I told them they would like you, whether they
did me or not. 1 have lectured every evening this week, and
yesterday attended a dedication, at Worcester. I am to
spend the Sabbath at Northfield and Bro. Perkins is exceed-
ingly anxious to have me spend the week at Berlin, in a pro-
tracted meeting, but I must hasten on as Agent of the Amer-
ican Protestant Society.
Pittsford, Dec. 1 8, 1844.
I have been constantly moving, with scarcely a moment's
quiet, since I left home ; yet, blessed be God, my spirit has
been in peace. Spoke at Charlotte, Ferrisburgh, Ludbury,
Rutland, and my courage is good and my soul at rest, while
my body is on the jump. I was treated to a new parlor
chamber, with a good lire in it, last night. The servant is
above his Lord, but you will understand this was one of the
gleams of sunshine, which only rarely beam upon me. Hav-
ing given you notice of my whereabouts, I will add some of
my thoughts since I left home. C Misery will come uncalled,
but happiness must be sought.
Is not the grace of God sufficient to keep us always
right? May we not ever find the sphere of God's appoint-
ment, and walk joyfully in His presence? O, to be ravished
with the full beams of Divine favor! Time is probation, ,*
eternity is retribution. Now we are in one, soon we shall
pass to the other. O, that its enduring ages may be blissful
ones to us! What matchless scenes are those spread out be-
fore the faithful! What is our earthly moment of care, toil
and pain, compared with those lasting scenes of glory? Time
is important only as connected with eternity.
Here we fit for Heaven and labor for the world's conver-
sion. Glorious work! Let it employ our hearts and hands.
Pray to know the deep things of God. Tell mother I pray
for her daily. I go to Poultney for Sunday.
Craftsbury, Sept. 22, 1845.
Found a large company of choice ministers here at Camp
meeting, and I was welcomed with more deference and cour-
tesy than I deserved. I preached at ten a. m., and trust
good was done. I have not enjoyed my mind as well for a
I met Dr. Barber, which was a real pleasure, after my
long ride, through an almost unbroken wilderness. I lectur-
ed in the Methodist and Congregationalist churches, yester-
day. This is the best region, for selling books, I have reach-
ed. But for mother, I should get you on this side of the
mountains, for the winter. But she must not be moved in
her poor health. Nine more appointments and then I hope
to be at home, for a few days. Have as little anxious care
as possible. ''There are better days coming." I dreamed
you went out collecting and raised $500.
LUNENBURGH, Oct. 2/, 1 845,
I spent the first Sabbath, after leaving home, at Wol-
cott, having been thoroughly drenched in a storm. I spoke
three times, at Derby, Sunday, to large congregations. At
Stanstead, had a very pleasant visit with Rev. Brock, well
calculated to continue the delightful associations I have form-
erly had among the English Wesleyan preachers. Tuesday
evening preached at Salem, Wednesday at Charleston;
Thursday lectured on A. P. Society, and here last night. I
thought I knew all about bad roads, but I found one more
horrible than ever before, in a dense wilderness, with not a
house for many miles. At last, weary and faint, I put up at
a log house and after shivering awhile, over a broken stove,
stretched my limbs upon a hard bed. for the night; by add-
ing my cloak, kept warm and slept, through God's mercy.
Lectured three times yesterday; am to preach this evening,
to-morrow night give a temperance address, Wednesday and
Thursday nights preach and then drive sixty miles, to my
Sunday appointments. I am tired of being a bachelor.
I move we make a bargain, one of these times. I hope
to be at home Thanksgiving. Our present inconveniences
may turn to our future good, even in this world. But life is
brief and if we get to heaven we shall not have lived in vain.
The joys of that state are lasting. We must make up our
minds to ills in this life. I meet persons, living in splendor,
who are actually "as poor as a church mouse," and loaded
down with debts, they can never pay. ' 'Thus endeth the
Irasburgh, Nov. 27, 1845.
I reached here in the rain, this morning, by invitation of
Bro. Pearsons, to spend Thanksgiving. This is a great privi-
lege, in my circumstances, and I could not be more pleasantly
situated, away from home. I preached this morning to a
small, but very attentive, congregation and we had a season
of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
The family greatly wished you were here and, of course,
I heartily responded, Amen. I hope you have a quiet season
at home, the place much in my thoughts to-day.
After Westford the roads became horrible and my buggy
was soon broken and I stopped for repairs about two hours
and had hardly started again, before a severe rain came and
I was soundly soaked, on reaching Cambridge.
There I obtained an umbrella and pushed on to Johnson,
and. finally, got through to Coventry, for my three Sunday
services. All that week I had daily tours in deep mud, and
To-morrow I start again and what success, I cannot tell,
as agents are about as thick as blackberries, at present; but
the cause is the Lord's and it is for Him to manage and on
Him I rely.
I am to be in Sutton and Burke next Sabbath; the fol-
lowing at Lancaster, N. H., and the third at Marshfield, Vt.
Weariness is upon me and I must close. You are in my
thoughts and affections and I long for the day when I can
live once more at home. I am too domestic for a cosmopo-
lite. You have all the toil, care and anxieties of home, and
I, toil and no home, but in the bosom of Christ. There I
find true repose! I have much comfort and an abiding spirit
of prayer, that attends all my waking moments.
Bethel, Dec. 30, 1845.
I reached Rochester Saturday Night, where I lectured
twice and preached once, on Sunday and have spoken at dif-
ferent points, every night this week.
Here, last night, there seemed to be great interest in
the address. For an hour and a half the most profound atten-
tion was given, but I fear it was simply the interest of the
passing moment, without serious thought. I was never so
much impressed with the corruption of society. Lord help
me to see the evils with which the gospel has to contend, but
save me from becoming a croaker.
The Methodist Society has credit for great piety and
'wealth (?) I received $1.74.
This evening I lecture at Stockbridge; to-morrow attend
watch meeting at Rochester; thence to Warren, Moretown,
Waitsfield, Middlesex, Plainfield. I hope to finish rny labors
for the American Protestant Society at Plainfield, and have
promised to go to Westford to help in a special meeting.
My mind is at ease about the future. God will take care
of us. Hitherto the Lord hath helped us, why then should
we fear? Let us trust Him to the end.
Piermont, N. H., March 17, 1846.
I wish I could write a more cheering letter than I can
now truthfully do. At Chelsea I preached Sunday morning,
in the M. E. Church, lectured in the Congregationalist, in
the p. m., and in the M. E. Church at night, and received
the magnificent sum of twelve cents. My hotel bill was
$1.50. At East Haverhill I stopped with Bro. Clark, who
has a very comfortable parsonage, in that dreary looking re-
gion. At Haverhill, where I am to spend the Sabbath, I was
most hospitably entertained at the home of ex-Gov. Page.
For the three services of the day I received $2.19. To-night
I go to Oxford, then to Lynne, Thetford, Stratford, Hanover
Woodstock, April 13, 1846.
I was most hospitably entertained by the Congregation-
alist minister last night. Woodstock is the finest place I
have seen east of Burlington. The Medical Institute is pros-
pering. Prof. Dewey, who is now delivering lectures on
chemistry, and Prof. Childs, (ex-Gov. of Mass.) on the theo-
ry and practice of medicine, were out to hear me yesterday ;
the latter handing me a dollar. A hard campaign getting to
Norwich. I had pleasant interviews with Dr. Richards and
Dr. Haddock, at Hanover.
I mention these items to you as I believe they afford you
more pleasure than I derived from them. I am too light for
much veneration of men and too matter of fact, for a very
large stock of vanity.
Whitehall, June 8, 1846.
I arrived early yesterday morning and the night did not
seem long. This is a large field for usefulness. A good house
can be secured, but it is a long way from our church. There
is a place for a garden but none made. I think you can get
a school here.
I am glad to be in the regular work again. I dread my
journey to the Vermont Conference, but must go. "Clouds
and darkness are around about Him," but we must rest in the
truth that "Justice and judgement are the habitations of His
A more than ordinary degree of Divine grace is given to
me in these times and truly, it is according to my day.
There is perfect good feeling between me and the people, but
my claims are higher than they have paid and though willing
to try, they have no plan for raising the amount required.
So, you see, trials await us whichever way we turn. But we
must trust God and do the best we can and. we can do no more.
How different my history from former years! Once I had an
elastic spirit, ever buoyant with good feeling, but alas! what
Still blessed be God! my mind is staid on Him. I hope
you will pray much and forget not poor, unworthy me. May
God help us.
Saratoga Springs, June 12, 1848.
I spent the Sabbath at Greenfield, in quarterly meeting.
Several of the official brethren asked me to come to them
this year. What say you? They are wide awake and will
give a fair salary. Pray God for direction. '
Nassau, Oct. 13 1848.
I arrived here last night from Albia, on foot, about four-
teen miles. I am at the Academy, well cared for, and am
grateful for the care of my Heavenly Father. Had a weari-
some walk to Ephrata, but a pleasant time while there. I
hope eternity will prove the effort was not lost. I preached
at Albia and Troy Sunday and every night since, till last
night. God is with me in preaching the word and I am se-
curing some friends for our church.
I hope yet to be well, but I pray to be entirely reconcil-
ed to God's will. I think of you and hope you have some
butter to eat on your bread. Well, never mind, perhaps you
will get seasoned to light living, so if our next appointment
should be "Camel's Hump" (a mountain peak) you can get
along very well, without eating at all. Besides we may do
good, whether we receive any or not and that is the main
thing after all. If we were amply provided for, yet accom-
lished no good, there would be no ground for satisfaction.
We shall have a clearer view of these things hereafter, in
eternity's light. It is wonderful, truly, how Providence has
led us along.
Sandyhill, N. Y. , June 2, 1849.
Everything in my Conference home is as agreeable as I
could desire and the session is progressing rapidly and pleas-
antly, Bishop Hamline presiding. The Presiding Elder and
others, stated that the most intelligent brethren of Middle-
bury, greatly desired me to be sent to that charge.
My little volume, on class meetings, has been largely
purchased, by the preachers, in single copies, but I have urg-
ed none to take them, without paying for them. I speak
Tuesday evening at the Sunday School Anniversary and
confess, to you, I am a little nervous about it. I have
heard Bishop Hamline again to-day — more able, yet as sim-
ple, as the sermon he preached in Troy.
Plattsburg, June 18, 1852.
I left Schenectady with Rev. Hall and a few others, for
the north, but we kept accumulating Dominies, until, on the
boat, from Burlington, we must have had more than a
hundred. The dust of the cars was anything but pleas-
ant. From Whitehall to Burlington, we were borne, by the
steamer "United States." This was more pleasant, but the
heat was oppressive and we moved at a snail's pace.
The scenery along the lake is ever grand and impressive.
From Burlington we came in the old Saranac, arriving at
6 p. m.
Our Conference opened Tuesday. To-day Bishop Janes
addressed the candidates for full connection, most appropri-
ately and pathetically. Wells read a preachment Tuesday
evening; Miller, likewise, Wednesday and the preachers gen-
erally were glad to hear Coleman preach, last night. Dr.
De Forest said if there were any Methodist Preachers, in the
place, they wanted to hear some Methodist preaching/
A missionary sermon will probably be read this evening.
I expect to return to Esperence, but want to be content
with any arrangements made for me. The work of the Confer-
ence has gone on slowly — no long speeches have been made,
yet when the subject discussed, is of general interest, we have
a long shower of them. This must be so, when we number
as largely as now. We had a good Temperance meeting last
night. The majority of us are in favor of committing our-
selves in favor of legislation, as in Maine, but some plead for
tamer things. The minority have proposed various expedients
to dilute the action of the Conference, but we throw back the
propositions, as fast as they come. I am impatient to get home
and about the work of the year. Ever regarding you as a part
of myself, language fails in expressing my affection. If I am
not as much interested in your happiness, as in my own, my
heart knows it not. It seems as if a break in my family, any-
where, would ruin me for earth. I do not conceive myself in
the possession of grace now to endure such an event, perhaps
it might be imparted, as needed, but nmv I feel it not.
P. S. We have carried the Temperance Report.
Esperence, Feb. 31, 1853.
You are now at your native place and must enjoy it and
not worry about us at home. I have been absent but one
night, since you went to your kindred, for a little rest. I
preached at Charleston P two evenings last week and yesterday
afternoon. Sunday morning's theme was "Propagating the
Gospel." I do not know yet the amount of our Missionary
pledges, but hope to get them increased. Take it for granted
we are doing well. Your providence has made us very com-
fortable so far. I could wish it were sweet spring, for your
sake, for then how pleasant Cazanovia would seem. When
your visit is finished we shall be very glad to see you, but it is
so difficult for you to start, you must not hasten.
Schenectady, May 12, 1853.
I reached here last evening and as usual, have a delight-
ful Conference home. This time with the Deacon of the Dutch
Reformed church. Bishop Waugh presides. Through the wise
prescription of our "family physician," (himself) who is along
with me, and the more important blessing of Divine Provi-
dence, I am well. Have shaken hands with many good friends.
The tract meeting was a stirring one, though the gas lights
went out three times. Stevens went off like a sky rocket and
carried almost everything before him. Brown read us a Mis-
sionary sermon, Friday evening, and having had a year to pre-
pare in, it was towards a year long. Quite a fire, only a few
rods from us, but God made us to, dwell in safety. Preached
in the Dutch Reformed church Sunday. The Lord refreshed
my own soul and I thought he did the souls of others.
Dr. Nott preached the sermon at the ordination of Elders.
My mind is calm and I am determined, by the grace of God,
to aquiesce in the arrangments of the coming year. You
must be prepared to go to Middleburgh. Ours is a life of toil,
but there is rest in Heaven. And amid earth's trials, may we
not scatter the roses of virtue, in the pathway of our children, so
that they shall inhale their fragrance, all the days of their lives?
Ransomville, N. Y., Oct. 6, 1853.
I reached Rochester about 5 p. m., and found it to be a
large and beautiful city, with fine public buildings and sur-
rounding scenery, pleasant. By train to Lockport and then
stage here, with long delays, which I bore as patiently as I
could; having made up my mind to visit my brother, at this,
the only time, I would ever be likely to have.
The omnibus had twelve grown passengers, a barrel of
brandy and two tomb stones, while the top groaned under
the enormous et cetteras placed on it. Seven aud one-half
miles of this, then for the locomotion of one man power. On
a dry ridge it goes well! Dark, rainy, windy! Splash!
Stick! Jump! Take carel There is a ditch! So I go four
miles and a half. Get to Myron's about 8 p. m. Visited a
little, prayed and went to bed. I do not know whether I
shall reach my mother, in Ohio, this week, for this is Thurs-
day and to-morrow I am bound for Niagara Falls. I am
thinking of you and praying for you, as I trust you are doing
MlDDLEFIELD, OHIO, Oct. II, 1 853.
I am, at last, once again with my mother, most precious.
At Niagara F'alls we went to all the points of observation and
had our best view from the Canada shore. At first, I was
disappointed, but before I had finished I was glad to acknowl-
edge "the half had not been told me." We went to the new
suspension bridge, at Lewistown, and a most beautiful one it is.
We crossed the one just below the Falls. They are lofty and
noble specimens of the skill and capacity of man to overcome
difficulties and accomplish stupendous objects. Myron paid
all the expenses, which, with the best economy, are heavy,
as they almost charge you for looking at your own face, in a
glass, near this cataract. I enjoyed the visit much and am
grateful to that Providence that furnished opportunity to
make it. Saturday, a trip to Niagara Fort, was greatly enjoy-
ed, only wishing you were along. The scenery around the Fort
is very fine. I preached twice Sunday — in the Baptist and
Wesleyan churches. This is a beautiful and rich country.
Our journey here included a walk of twelve miles, but I am
glad I came, for mother has been quite ill, all summer and
though she is better now, still, I feel I am making my last
visit to my dear mother. If you were here, it would afford
great pleasure to all.
Farmers seem to have little to do but make money and
adorn their very pleasantly located homes. The people seem
very ingenious and frank and society is good. They insist on
my remaining to preach for them Sunday. I am anxious for
the moment to come when, after accomplishing all that I
ought, by this journey, I can set my face eastward.
Home is, after all, the main center of all that is inter-
esting or desirable, of an earthly sort in this world.
Brooklyn, N. Y., May 8, 1855.
Although the stage had some fifteen passengers, we
were at Albany, in time for the boat. Most of the travelers
were Anti-Maine law men and between tobacco smoke and
rum, they were not as agreeable as could have been desired.
The public houses, save one, on the route, were in full blast,
in the liquor department. The bar, on the Hendrick Hudson,
was much patronized and poured out its streams freely.
We arrived indue season in New York and I visited friends
and the Book Room, but my long tramps of the day made
me feel as though I would hardly give a four penny for the
whole city. Saturday wrote on my speech and with Mary,
went to Greenwood. Very much interested. Preached Sun-
day morning in the Hick's St. M. E. Church, here in Brook-
lyn and had a good time, at the afternoon sacrament service,
at the same place.
In the evening heard Henry W. Beecher, at the Church
of the Puritans. Liked him well — he goes right into it.
Fine congregational singing — a mighty crowd — over 3,000
people. Looked like camp meeting. He is under great re-
Williamstown, Mass. , Sept. 24, 1855.
Yesterday, soon after preaching, word came that Sister
Evans was just alive and greatly desired to see me. I hast-
ened on and had the mournful satisfaction of having a last
conversation with her and praying for her. She died tri-
umphantly, about two hours after my arrival. So our belov-
ed friend has gone home to Paradise. It is natural they
should want me to preach the funeral sermon, and a strange
Providence seems to have sent me here for that purpose,
still I have not consented to stay, without many anxieties
about your health and the many things calling me home.
Keep looking up to God and may He grant you both
bodily and spiritual health.
Burlington, Vt., June 20th, 1856.
Bishop Morris presided at this Conference. With the
two o'clock meeting, for making reports and the four o'clock
Com. on Claims, and a share of the Examination of the Can-
didates, for the order of Deacons, I am very busy. It does
not seem as if I could endure another year on the Guilder-
land circuit, and I prefer to move.
I am taking the medicine faithfully, but fear my time
of vigor and elasticity is forever gone. The thought is not
pleasant, but is forced upon me, by every day experiences.
Now I hope you are enjoying yourselves well and that
He who "Tempers the wind to the shorn lambs" is giving
you grace, according to your day. Give yourself no uneasi-
ness about the future. God will not desert us.
Weybridge, June 22, 1856.
You see by date of this I am on one of our old battle
grounds. An appointment was made for me to preach here
this conference Sunday, without consulting me. Have had
a good day, but preaching twice, without any refreshments
between, made me very faint and weary. Every one seems
friendly, but the Wesleyans are as shy as scared rabbits.
I return to Burlington in the morning. Business is pass-
ing off rapidly under Bishop Morris. I have no intimation
where I shall go. Presiding Elder Seymour said I had the
confidence of the entire Conference. I am very anxious
about Sister Hamline and pray fervently to God that she may
recover. What would the Bishop do without her?
Pittsfield, Mass., May 24, 1857.
We shall probably continue at Castleton. Our Presid-
ing Elder told me to-day he would get a missionary appro-
priation, but approves of my declining it. I cant feel that
it would be right. So I shall trust God and take results.
He has taken care of us and I believe He will.
I gave a dollar, each, to the Sunday School and Tract
cause, so Castleton was represented, and thus, I have
a trifle more in the savings bank of Heaven. I think I must
invest a little more, in the same way, through the Irish Mis-
sion. Bro. Riley addressed us to-day and the Conference
was electrified. We laughed and cried altogether. I reached
here without expense and am having my horse kept, where I
stay, without cost, and. as usual, I have an elegant Confer-
ence home. .
I wish you were here, for we are living on the fat of the
land, and the location is most delightful. I am chairman of
but one committee and am excused from preaching to-mor-
row, so shall have a chance to hear Bishop Baker, who is a
much better looking man, than his engraving represents. He
has fine business tact,
Sunday Night. The sermon was good and if not all I
expected, yet worthy of a Bishop, in any section of the
church of God. If it had not all the sparkling virtues, of the
very best sermons, it was, nevertheless, faultless.
April 30, 1S58. (Enroute for Iowa.)
Got started about S o'clock. Stormy, cold wind in my
face all day. Snow banks in some places and flowers in
others. The day was one of discomfort, alleviated by fine
scenery, pleasant villages and a mind at peace with God and
man. At Richfield, about S3 miles from home, a comfort-
able place secured, in a private house, for the night.
Thursday was pleasant and I had a fine day's travel,
through a beautiful country, and many charming villages. As
yesterday, lunched under a tavern shed, where I fed my horse.
Reached Cazenovia about 9 p. m. Rained and very
muddy and I made slow progress. Dined, between showers,
in gypsy style, by the roadside, and fed Katy in a manger of
God's own making. Last evening I put up at a hotel and fared
May 2d. This holy Sabbath is a quiet day with me and
I am pleasantly situated, with a Methodist family. No vil-
lage, but a school house, where I preached at half past ten.
God is taking care of me and I trust He is doing the same
for those left behind.
I have walked two miles to meeting and back again. It
was appointed for a prayer meeting, but when I arrived they
beset me to preach and off I went like a sky rocket! I can-
not realize l am so far from the loved home circle, with a long
journey before me. It seems as if I was out filling my
Sunday appointments, but I guess I shall not drive home in
the morning. The day has been clear, but a cold north wind
and now it is cloudy. We know not what a night can bring
forth, but no matter, "Our Father is at the helm."
Buffalo, N. Y., May 7, 1858.
I arrived about three hours since and find I can get off on
a boat, Monday night. I could go to-night, but I dare not
begin a journey on Sunday. If I had the time and was sure
Katy would hold out, I would like to go all the way in the
With my growing experience, I think I could get along
delightfully. No misgivings yet, but it seems in the order of
God. I believe that the shadowing wings of the most High
are spread over us, and that we shall be guided aright. My
health is decidedly improved. I hear you inquire, ' 'When do
you expect to reach Anamosa?" Within an hour, after I
reach four miles of that place!
May 9th. This has been a happier day than I had
hoped. Heard Rev. Ripley preach this a. m. and at prayer
.meeting at 2 : 30 p. m., and preached in Grace Church, to-
night. This church is very large and well finished.
Your letter here was a cordial indeed.
May 10th. I leave on the May Flower this Monday
night. The four days here seem an unfortunate delay, but
bless the Lord, we have learned to reverence His holy Sab-
baths, and I have acted conscientiously and have the satisfac-
tion of knowing you will heartily approve my course.
Lake Erie, May 11th.
The steamer is heavily loaded. It has stormed all day
and the waves run high. We have a sufficiently good table
and the passengers are comfortable. The "best of all" God
is with me and keeping me from care. I am resting on the
good providence of God. I have no uneasiness about the
future, for I believe that God has a place and work for me.
No storm or waves on my soul! I have the Book of Books
with me and that is a great comfort.
May 12. We are now at the Detroit wharf, taking
wood. As I went over this city very thoroughly, when here
before, shall not do so now. The rest of the route on the
lakes is new to me. I slept finely last night, so you will
know I am not nervous, though it is true, I shall be specially
glad when the lake part of my trip is over.
Now, we have had a very pleasant sail through Lake St.
Clair, a beautiful sheet of water and the scenery is very in-
teresting. . We were aground a short time, but a good Provi-
dence soon relieved us. My heart went up to God, for relief,
with great confidence.
The wind is strong in our favor, and for a time, a sail
was up, but that is now lowered.
We are getting along finely and I am praying we may
reach Chicago by Saturday morning.
Evening. We are now on the broad bosom of Huron. I
like its looks. It is calm and peaceful now. For some miles
St. Clair river is bordered with low, marshy and uninteresting
land; but for the greatest portion it is fine in itself and beauti-
ful in its bordering scenery. I have spent much time to-day
in looking abroad and have enjoyed myself well. I am a
gentleman, at leisure, and have plenty of time for writing, but
you see my pen bobs about, occasionally, with the ship's
Thursday morning. This is a cold morning for May 13,
but, blessed be God, my heart is neither cold nor cheerless.
We are still riding upon the bosom of Huron, whose
dark waves swell proudly and coldly, in the presence of a
strong north wind. I have not suffered any from sea sickness,
an unexpected mercy.
Evening. We have passed Bois Blanc Island and are in
the Straits of Mackinaw. Many vessels in sight all day.
Friday morning. We are at Manitou Island. The air
is unexpectedly bland and we are moving, as sailors say,
South, South West. The map shows you our main direction,
but a vessels path is varied often, by circumstances, maps
The faithful compass tells us constantly our course. So
with God's word; it is our faithful, unerring compass to direct
us in our voyage over the sea of time to eternity.
Night. Like many of the days, since time began its
march, the promises of the morning have not been realized in
the character of the day, for we have had rain, then a strong
cold wind, succeeded by a fog, which hindered us much. But
the fog has passed and we are sailing on rapidly again.
Saturday morning. Here we are, tied up at the Mil-
waukee wharf. It is a bright morning. My mind is peace-
ful. I will go out and explore this city to-day, for though I
much prefer going on to Chicago, that is beyond my control
and I have only to submit. Half past four. We are just
leaving Milwaukee. This is better than I feared. Had an in-
teresting time in the city to-day and got some fresh reading. It
is too cold to be out on deck. My especial remembrance to the
young converts. My picture gallery is a rich treasure indeed.
May 1 6, Chicago. I am thankful to be fairly off the
May Flower; and that she has landed her pilgrims safely, I
thank the Author of all mercies. Heard a good sermon from
an Agent of the Bethel cause, on Indiana St., this a. m., and
Dr. Dempster to-night, and had the privilege of shaking hands
May 17. Three weeks to-day since I left home. Could
have gone to Europe and back. But traveling is regarded as
a great pleasure and I doubt if travellers, usually, enjoy
themselves any better than I have done.
Anamosa, May 28, 1858.
My date tells you I am at my journey's end. The roads
were terribly muddy from Chicago to Anamosa.
I reached Barring-ton the 17th, wading in the mud all
day, getting into a deep slough about 9 p.m., breaking the
whippletree, but finally got out and reached my kindred and
had a good visit with mother and all. Violent rain kept me
indoors till about noon the 19th, when I launched forth in the
Many emigrant wagons drawn by oxen. On the 20th, I
dined with Sr. Gray and spent the night in Rockford at Bro.
Sandford's, where I had a very pleasant visit. The 21st
drove to Peccatonica, and stopped with Bro. Burnham from
Friday to Monday. Preached on Sunday,
The 24th started again in the mud. Sloughs common and
very hard to get through. Forded some very bad streams-
Reached Mt. Carroll.
Several hours waiting, the 25th, at Savannah, for the
ferry boat to take me across the "Father of Waters," which is
big and muddy.
Mud and sloughs to the end of the chapter!
Toward evening came pat on a deep creek, stretching
away beyond its usual bounds and the water roaring and fret-
ting, for many rods, as seen often at a mill dam. Fancy me
driving Katy along the top of the dam, for a considerable dis-
tance and then plunging into a deep place, without knowing
whether there is bottom or not. Water comes into wagon—o-
gives Katy a good washing, swaying this way and that — on we
go! Here we are, on the muddy shore! God takes care of
us! All right! Thanks to his blessed name! Drive on a
short distance and stop with a Dutchman.
May 26. Drive 14 miles along a ridge. Glorious region!
Grand beyond all conception of prairie scenery I have ever
Maquoketa, large and handsome village, but now all mud.
One said Monmouth should be Mudmouth. And if, at the
battle of Monmouth, they contended harder, or took greater
hazards, than I did, in my contests with the sloughs, near this
town, then it was a mighty big fight/ That time, like the
Revolutioners, I got the victory. But three miles on, I got
stuck fast. Can you shovel tar? No more can you this mud.
But a man with horses and chain, in something less
than an age, is found to get me out. Stay at a hotel near
Wyoming. Sweet sleep. Rest under the heavenly shadows.
May 27. Anamosa. Do you exclaim "He has had a
long, dreary time!" No, indeed. A long journey, but I have
not been unhappy one moment since I started. I have wished
you here, but as you are not, I must do the best I can.
June 13. I have been out 4 miles to Fairview and preached
and once, here, to-day. God has blessed me in preaching his
word. I still think my main mission, west, is to be filled as a
minister of Christ, the home getting, only incidental.
Hence, though without any earthly compensation, I step
into all the openings of God's Providence. Wickedness is rife,
but God can make the people better. In doing that,. He uses
means and my heart says, "here am I, send me". When read-
ing the Troy Conference appointments I thought I would na-
turally breath out some sighs, but I am contented and happy.
God helping me I am going to sing along the rest of my route
to Canaan. I mean to make the wilderness ring again.
Money is the great temporal need here, but religion is
June 29. Your letter just at hand; eight days from time
of leaving Castleton, reaching me. You have been passing
through trying scenes and if God has not been near, they must
have been dark indeed. If God will spare our loved one we will
praise Him. I believe I am here in the order of God, though I
have been led to review that subject thoroughly. We shall ever
find difficulties, but I trust they will not be insurmountable.
Colesburgh, Dec. 1 3, 1865.
There is a fierce, cold, bitter wind in full blast and I have
not courage to breast its terrible power, as 1 am getting
cowardly about risks.
I have received two splendid buffalo robes, from
Adelaide, as my birthday gift. I am trying \o firmly, constantly
and cheerfully, hold on to God and His abounding grace.
Cambridge, N. Y., April 18, 1866.
Reached Troy 9 a. m., expected to have a solitary ride
to my own loved Conference. Step into the depot to find
about 20 of my old confreres. The greetings were as warm
as Christian friendship and ministerial fraternity could wish.
Thank God! At church, last evening, while waiting for the
opening of the service, Brothers Washburn, Seymour, Starks
and many others gathered around me to shake hands, in the
presence of a crowded congregation. This morning I was
asked to address the conference. It was a privilege. Friendly
interest greeted me from every part of the house. I am among
my friends. The journey will pay, if I return to Iowa, at the
close of the conference. The session, this morning, was deeply
interesting — Bishop Janes presiding.
To-morrow they re-bury the dust of Embury, in a cemetery
there, with the design of rearing a more lofty monument over it.
It seems to me that the glorified Embury, if permitted to
look on, would laugh at so much pomp and pageantry. I pray
for you many times in a day. I think of the wife, with her
toil and cares, and beg God to bless her. I think of our dear
Eliza, alvjays striving to walk in the right way..
North Adams, Mass., April 28, 1866.
You will see I am at the place where we began the Itiner-
ancy. Was urged to spend Conference Sunday at Williamstown,
and consented to do so, preaching Saturday night and twice on
Sunday and attended Congregational service at half-past one.
I went directly to Uncle Levi Smedley's. They were all evi-
dently glad to see me and I made brief visits to most of our
kindred. Everything looks more pleasant than I anticipated.
Brooklyn, N. Y. , May 11, 1866.
I left Castleton on Wednesday, on Barge Cromwell,
reaching New York City about 10 a. m. yesterday. The most
delightful passage I ever had on the Hudson river. Capt. and
Mrs. V. inquired earnestly about you. I shall return with them,
as its costs me nothing, and I could not fail to avail myself of
this opportunity to see the dear friends here. I had most de-
lightful visits with our Castleton people. The Ladds have a
splendid home here, but I would not exchange homes with
them, any sooner than they would with us.
I never had less taste for city life than now, unless the
city be a celestial one. Oh, that we may all have mansions
in our Father's house, prepared for us by our blessed Saviour.
How unsatisfactory all the things of earth, separated from the
blessings of the gospel. With salvation, they are both neces-
sary and valuable and their reception should be a matter of
thanksgiving, but alone how empty!
Lockport. June 20. 1866.
I had a good Sunday at Ephratah and Rockwood. God
was with me, aiding and comforting. Last night, through the
similarity of Brockport and Lockport. I got off the cars at the
former place and found myself forty miles from the latter!
The conductor had taken rny ticket. I had. however, a check,
on a box of evergreens, which I hoped, with a truthful ac-
count, would get me through on another train, four hours later,
which it did, with only a little uncourteous muttering, on the
part of the conductor, which did not disturb me. as my atten-
dant Friend soothed and supported me. The bitter is mingled
with the sweet. I have given up visiting Evanston or Baring-
ton, and hope to reach home in a few days.
Anamosa, May 21, 1869.
We we very glad to hear from you and learn that you
are enjoying your journeys and visitings. I anticipated you
would have a pleasant time with Sr. Hamline, at Evanston.
Eliza is getting on finely with the school. Never better order
and the students are all ambitious to learn and are making
We enjoy your enjoyment and are glad that we are here
and you ranging amidst old friends.
Peas more than one foot high. All the early vegetables
are growing finely and large operations in the floral and shrub
department, where everything looks promising. Apples,
plums, cherries, currents and strawberries are in full bloom.
Hazel Knoll has donned her beautiful garments.
June 26th. School closed yesterday very pleasantly. I
have been very busy, as usual, to-day, also been attending to
Bible agency accounts and preparing the Bible discourses for
to-morrow. Have visited 190 families in Anamosa and
preached twice in Cass. Go to East and West Cass to-morrow
and have to baptize three by immersion.
All is passing as well as could be expected. We have
finished the strawberries, but are luxurating on green peas.
The vote on lay delegation was over 100 for and 5 against.
I find the Bible work is really such a field of usefulness as I
have never before entered. To occupy it well, a man must
be more than religiously inclined, he must have religion. He
must appreciate the Bible and love his fellow men. God has
blessed me in my work. We are thankful you went to Round
Lake camp meeting and had a good time. Now you must
rest, for at your sister's, you can be as quiet as a kitten, on
a cushion, in a rocking chair, in the corner. Don't try to
visit everybody in North Adams, in a day.
A Ministerial Convention, at Wyoming, next Tuesday.
Dr. and Mrs. Phebe Palmer are expected at the camp meeting
next month, near Maquoketa.
Anamosa, Sept. 21, 1869.
We rejoice that everywhere you meet with such friendly
receptions. When you have finished your visit we shall be
glad to see you, but not before, for it is true, there is no proba-
bility, that either you or I, will ever visit our Eastern kindred
and friends again. I believe our children are endeavoring to
lead useful, Christian lives. That is the main thing, for with-
out it, human life is a sad failure. Honor, wealth, pleasure
— all is vanity, without God's favor here and heavenly felicity
for eternity. How brief the space between us and that un-
Well, I think I am ready. May God still have you under
His gracious care and guidance!
In the interim from Sheldon, summer of 1841, to Esper-
ence, 1851, the hurried years gave no time for a journal. The
two years, at St. Albans, had the usual, multiplied duties of
the pastorate, with frequent choice articles, for the church pa-
pers, from his gifted pen; while a native French teacher was
added to the family, and the parents renewed the earnest
study of the languages: the pre-eminent life-rule being, their
constant mental and spiritual improvement, and later, the thor-
ough education of their children, at any and every sacrifice.
The parsonage was regarded, by many, as a free hotel, and
one Monday, between 8 a. m. and 6 p. m., the wife prepared
fourteen distinct meals, for strangers and unexpected callers.
Mrs. Isbell continuously supplemented the meagre salary, by
a school, in the home and much of the time the pastor taught
classes in his study. Yet, at such times, one afternoon, on
the return of Mrs. Isbell, from visits, among the sick and neg-
lected of the city, he presented her a beautiful painted scroll,
of moss roses, buds and leaves, his skillful work, with the fol-
lowing, original lines:
Let this a scroll of Friendship be,
A pledge of love 'twixt you and me;
A sort of talisman or charm,
To keep our hearts with kindness warm,
And send far off each tempting- devil,
Who fain would fill our minds with evil.
Though storms may often howl around,
Earth's path wind over thorny ground,
Yet with Content and Patience sweet,
The Gospel sandals on our feet,
We may keep far from gloom and sadness,
And gather much of joy and gladness.
■■' • '- ' ■■ '• ■ - - ■• " ■ '
The agency, of the American Protestant Society, was ac-
cepted for 1844 and '45, and a settled home began, in Col-
chester, Vt., for the invalid mother; but before the two years
had closed, the saintly spirited, Mrs. Martin, had entered
Heaven and Whitehall was the new field of labor.
Of his American Protestant Agency he writes from Tin-
month, N. H., Jan. 21, 1845: "I feel that God is dealing with
me in kindness. Not an hour passes without my thinking of
home, yet God saves me from painful anxiety about you. If
ever I was doing good, I am doing it now. A narrower circle
would please me better, but God's way, is always best."
At Whitehall, the medical studies began, and it soon ap-
peared, that many would pay five dollars for relief from bodily
ailments, when one dollar was a large sum for spiritual help.
And though a minister is charged to be "a man of one work,"
yet the same divine record affirms, "He that provideth not for
his own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an
infidel." The great expense, and severe labor, of these annual
and biennial moves, can scarcely be understood in these three
and five years furlough. His love for cultivating house plants
and flowers was never lost, amid these vicissitudes, and at each
new home he had also the vegetable garden. Blessed re-
vivals continued all along and also in the four years spent in
Fort Plain and Pleasant Valley.
A daily journal was kept from the date of his western ar-
rival to the last day of his life; but it is impossible to make
only very brief selections, as the entire contents are of pro-
found interest. The second year was one of great physical
suffering, from "chills and fever," scarcely a well day, yet
most of the time, the entire care of preparing fuel, for four
fires, rested upon him. For fourteen years, the "Family
Boarding and Day School, at Hazel, Knoll," continued; when
the eldest daughter, Eliza, was taken to the "Land of the
Blest." Yet in the midst of daily and wearisome labors, the
Sundays, generally, found him at his holy calling, of "preach-
ing Christ and Him crucified," and often was he present at
Ministerial Associations, with a paper as rare, rich, racy, ar-
gumentative and persuasive, as if a student of boundless leis-
ure. In comparing Methodist Episcopal clergymen with
others, he says:
"For notwithstanding our ministers are as near or nearer
right than others, yet they are defective. There is too great
a want of originality. A minister should study all it is possi-
ble for him to do and then let God mould him as he pleases.
This is necessary to the supplying of the wants of the church.
God knows the needs of the church best, and if He has the or-
dering of the matter. He will furnish it with a sufficient vari-
ety of ministerial gifts. The minister is too apt to forget the
interest his audience has in Bible truth. He must attend to
this if he feels the importance of his calling. 3d. There is
too great a disposition, on the part of the ministers, to en-
quire, what subject can I converse upon, with the most liber-
ty, instead of asking, what is most likely to do good? 4th.
The minister's mind ought to be powerfully impressed with
the bliss of heaven, and the horrors of hell. 5th. Errors that
have no existence in a congregation ought not to be dwelt
upon, in a labored and argumentative way."
In 1870. as Agent for the Jones County Bible Society, he
reports, "Miles traveled, 1,385; families visited, 859; sermons
and addresses, 59." It was his custom to carefully write out
a sermon for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other National
days, even when he knew his audience would be only the im-
mediate family. Among his manuscripts, especially scholarly
and devout productions appear, under the following themes:
Sublimity of the Scriptures. Read before an associa-
tion of Ministers.
Address to the Members of the Burlington (Vt.) District,
Address to the Burlington District Literary Association.
National Fast, proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln, Sept.
26, 1861. Deut. 28. 1-2.
Obedience to God, the Basis of National Prosperity.
Signs of the Times.
The Methodistic Ministerial Spirit.
Mystery of God's interest in Man.
Beauties of Holiness.
Christ, the Foundation of the Church.
Hope, the Richest Treasure of a Suffering World.
Miracles of the Bible.
Resurrection of the Body.
God's Witness of Himself.
National Thanksgiving. Deut. 4. 7-8.
Paul's Discourse to Felix.
His choice volume, on class meeting, had an extended
With ripening years, came increased mental strength and
readiness for filling any emergency, by a timely sermon or im-
promptu address or beautiful, original poem. He had no sym-
pathy with indifference to literature, society or religion, be-
cause of sixty or seventy years. Being urged, recently, to
write a book, on Ecclesiastical Polity, he said, "Not quite
ready — keeping at my books — soon will be."
And though "Christ and the Church," was his life inter-
est, he was fully alive to all passing events, as he writes,
March 4, 1861, "Mr. Lincoln safe in Washington. Inaugura-
tion Day. Lord help and protect."
May 1 4, 1 86 1 . "Mind much occupied by the war. Feel
sometimes, I must go into the field."
Sept. 11, 1863. "Go again to the fair ground. Our
ladies have done well with their refreshments and it is thought
the church debt will now be entirely met."
His associations, with the pastors, of the various denom-
inations of Christians, at every one of his appointments, (and
equally so, in the west) were most fraternal and agreeable;
always securing an exchange of pulpits, at least once a year.
At Pleasant Valley, N. Y., in the Baptist pastor, he found
a loved friend, not seen since they were boys together, neither
of them, then, Christians. Delightful the renewed friendship.
And this social spirit increased to life's close. At various
dates, year after year, in his journal, he gave the names of all
present, at large gatherings, at his home; often a dozen or
more coming in, unexpectedly, to dinner or tea, or several to
spend a few days, where the welcome was sure, at whatever
cost of labor.
Under date, Oct. 8, 1873. "A large, fine company. As
pleasant as a party can be. With some of them, it is, per-
haps, the last visit. God deals graciously with us."
At the annual welcome, of 1892, when over 1 50 were in-
vited to Hazel Knoll, in September, he seemed to enter with
greater zest than ever before, in the pleasing visits of old and
new friends. As summer trips, to the seaside or fashionable
camp meeting resorts, were an impossibility, the only change,
for the parents and Eliza, after the severe labors, of each
school year, from 1859 to 1870,, (with the care of continuous
company) was a jaunt, with their own horses, and buggy, for
three or four weeks, in the summer, lunching by the wayside,
"in gypsy style," and putting up at some farm house, or with
friends, for the night, and u by singing hymns and pleasing con-
verse," recuperate for another year's campaign.
On the departure of the beloved Eliza, to her heavenly
home, in 1872, a widowed daughter became the family house-
keeper and provider, and to May, 1878, excepting two win-
ters, Mr. Isbell carried her to and from her school, a mile;
after which date, he consented to yield that task and permit-
ted her to drive to town, the remaining nine years of her
From 1873, the land was rented and his toils were some-
what diminished and he was finally persuaded, in 1888, to
give up "making garden."
From the summer of* 1880, Mr. Isbell has made several,
brief, extended trips to western Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska,
among kindred and friends, greatly enjoying the visits and
scenery, and, as in his daily home life, discovering some rare
beauty in a sunset, shadow, golden rod or daisy, for even the
humblest flower had a lesson, to his appreciative mind.
Again and again has he hastened in, from a walk* to get
another to admire with him, some shade of sky, sumach, or
gorgeous autumn foliage, in the groves around his rural home.
Several walks for exercise were taken each day, between his
readings, writings and meditations, while a daily sleep gave
rest and vigor. But the home was adjusted solely now for his
comfort and all physical labor was, henceforth, forever, a
thing of the past; and when he spoke of helping, he was as-
sured he had patiently borne the ''burden and heat of the
day" and had earned a long, restful evening time. He often
said his every day dinner was good enough for Thanksgiving
day, which was a great comfort to one never satisfied with her
efforts to care for her parents. During these years he read
the six volumes of Clark's Commentary (with preface and
notes) more than six times. And these student habits, this
progressive culture of mind, doubtless, caused the oft repeated
assertion of friends, year after year, in life and also when this
patient toiler and faithful pastor, lay peacefully at rest, in his
cedar casket, "Bro. Isbell does not look a day older than he
did thirty years ago." His eye had lost none of its bright-
ness, his keen, ready wit none of its sharpness, his love of na-
ture in no measure diminished and his sympathy for humanity
constantly increasing, as his heart went out to each new phi-
lanthropy. A few years since he greatly enjoyed a visit from
his brother Myron, to whom he expressed his great attach-
ment for his home; said he was very happily situated, every
comfort supplied, every want anticipated, and the Lord was
dealing graciously with him.
But this watchman, so lowly in mind and heart, did not
have to die to be appreciated. In 1873, Rev. O. W. Merrill,
Superintendent of Missions of the Congregational church,
writes from Lincoln, Nebraska, "Your letter did me good in
various ways. It called to mind the pleasant associations of
the eight best years of my life. From you I always had words
of cheer, in every good word and work, and your sympathies
were with me, in the hard and trying experiences of life.
Never a ripple of strife as we labored, side by side. Sorrow
has come to you. 'In Memoriam' is written on sorrowful
hearts, wherein lie buried the lights and loves of home. Yet
I see in your letter a sweet, triumphant hope and my own
faith, in Christ's gospel, is strengthened."
FROM REV. SAM'L PANCOAST, PHILADELPHIA, 1 8/6.
Our people, at old St. George, are still remembering
your most highly enjoyed and blessed sermons and it would
be a great pleasure to us all, pastor and people, to have you
with us soon again.
June 14, 1880.
Rev. I. C. Lusk writes, I desire again to express my
thanks for those excellent sermons, yesterday. The one in
the evening, especially, was an example of expository and
hortative discourse seldom equalled. We may well sit at
your feet and learn directness, brevity, sincerity and power.
And best of all, the Holy unction was manifest. May God
spare you yet many years, to cheer on His Militant Hosts.
"LIFE AND LETTERS OF BP. L. L. HAMLINE."
FROM BISHOP HAMLINE TO DR. AND MRS. PHEBE PALMER.
Schenectady, June 11, 18 5 5 .
Having passed through trials of an absorbing and ex-
hausting nature, we gladly turn our thoughts to our friends,
among whom you occupy the first place. My strength seemed
increased and we had a preacher sent to our work, who was
the very man to attend to the taking of the testimony. One
of the very best business men I have found in the whole
church; without whom, I know not what we could have done.
What a Providence! He seemed to see right through the
hypocrasy of Mr. and Mrs. .H. with a glance, and he presided
and made up his records, with an impartiality and a skill
which astonished us all.
Brother Finley said he had never seen a difficult job
managed in so skillful and orderly a manner, in fifty years.
We hope to introduce you to this dear Bro. Isbell, dur-
ing the year, for he is a most gifted and valuable man.
Selections from the Manuscripts of Rev. Bishop Isbell.
THE DEW DROP.
For the Christian Messenger.
It is a Summer's morning, and the breath of nature is
sweet. Refreshed with her nightly slumbers, she looks abroad
with sparkling eyes, and a ruddy countenance. She has doff-
ed her night cap, and, casting off the fleecy mantle of her
nocturnal hours, is arraying herself in her daily garb of beauty
and glory, with the sun for her coronet. But passing over
the more splendid and magnificent wonders which diversify
her robe, let us turn our attention to the little gem sparkling
upon this opening rose bud. It is a pearly dew-drop, and
seems as an angel's tear, and glows in the early rays of the
sun like that in the glory of heaven. Diminutive as it is, it
is adorned with the tints of the rainbow. The sun from his
lofty habitation condescends to paint upon it with his magic
pencil those colors, whose number is the number of perfec-
tion. But whatever of surprise this intimacy of objects, be-
tween which there seems to be such a disparity, may at first
create, a little reflection will dissipate. Coeval in their ex-
istence, they may be better acqainted than we imagine. —
When the waters were congregated together at the voice of
Deity, this tiny drop formed a part of the mighty flood, and,
like the great deep from which it is now separated, it is still
the habitation of a vast number of living organic forms which
sport as joyously in its bosom, as the fish in the great sea.
Since its birth, during the six days of creation, its history has
been varied; and, were it written, it would, perhaps, be a
more interesting one than that of any warrior, poet, or states-
man the world ever saw. When earth's moisture arose
towards heaven, to respond to the soft kisses of the morning
sun, and veiled the glories of Eden in a white mantle of
pure, and beautiful^vapor, it was there, burdened with the
odorous exhalations of gorgeous flowers and luscious
fruits. It enacted its part in decking Paradise with its garb
of green bestudded with infinitely variegated gems of flowers.
Now it was finding its way through the stems and leaves of
the most delicate plants, or assisting in the formation of the
most charming buds and flowers; then it was circulating
through the pores of the loftiest trees, refreshing their branches
which were waving in the passing, balmy breezes. Again,
under a formation like its present one, it was seen glittering
in the beams of morning, amidst the matin and vesper
hymns of delighted Nature, at that enchanting period of her
virgin purity. When the sunshine of the Divine promise
irradiated the cloud of despair, which invested the soul of
Eve in gloom after the curse of God had been breathed upon
it, and stirred the heart's deepest emotions, it stood in her
eye a tear glistening with hope. It mingled in the stormy
scenes of the Deluge, when the roaring waters rushed from
the depths beneath, and poured from the heavens above; and
smiled sweetly in the favored cloud which formed the can-
vas on which God painted the bow of Mercy and Promise.
Since then it has danced on the crested billows of the great
deep, sparkled amidst white foam cast behind by the
great ships with spread wings and hasty step, or the light-
er craft bounding over the bosom of earth's extended waters.
It has assisted in bearing up the bark, freighted with those of
saddened hearts, who have sounded the knell of numerous
earthly enjoyments in the potent word farewell; or that which
gaily sported with the waves on its homeward passage, bear-
ing soul to kindred soul. It has witnessed the wild terror and
dismay which triumphs in the hour of shipwreck, when the sails
are torn to tatters — the masts swept away — the vessel dashed
against the rocks, is shivered to atoms, and the shrieks of
drowning humanity are mingled with the troubled tones of
the raging tempest. 'L Often it has appeared on the bosom of
the cooling fountain and glancing smilingly at the thirsty
traveler, invited him to stop and slake his thirst. It has fill-
ed the eye of sorrow, and glittered in the smile of joy, and of-
ten stood a witness of the bliss of requited, or pangs of un-
requited love. It has mingled with the purling mountain
stream — the roaring cataract, and the refreshing shower, which
falls from heaven to gladden the face of Nature. And though,
whilst we are gazing upon it, it is exhaled by the sunbeams
and vanishes from our view, yet invested with its probable
history, it is an object of profound interest and admiration.
Fort Plain, Montgomery Co., N. Y., Aug. 20.
Bro. Willett: — I was by no means surprised that the
Messenger did not come to me regularly, as I had no right to
expect more than an occasional visit, if any at all. Yet, to
know how much pleasure it gave me to see its healthful face
again, you must also know the strength of my attachment to
the Green Mountain State, and the power of association. I
will confess that I cannot fully account for the drift of my
affection for a section of country in which I endured severe
labor, trials and sufferings, unless it is in the fact that it pre-
sents nothing tame in its formation, aspect, or inhabitants.
The linaments of its visage are strongly marked, and the
moral traits of the inhabitants seem, in this respect, to be
analogous to their country. Still, in a good degree, the at-
tachment may be accounted for on ordinary^principles. I
owe much to the inhabitants of Vermont, and particularly to
its ministers — of all denominations — for their acts of kind-
ness and hospitality. "I was a stranger and they took me
in;" and gave me better lodgings than my Master was wont
to have. "I was hungry and they gave me" the luxuries of
life. The servant, in point of fare, was usually above his
Lord. The Messenger possesses a talismanic power to call
up the past agreeable associations — those fire-side scenes,
seasons of friendly and pleasant converse, and "heavenly
places in Christ Jesus." I thought of it in its absence and
felt sad that no voice from the verdant hills continued to
speak in my habitation save that which echoed in the cham-
bers of my memory. But, thank God, a Messenger comes
to bring me tidings of my mountain home for nine stirring
years — of its picturesque scenery — of its lofty hills and swift
gliding streams — of the wild melody of its loud speaking
winds — its lightnings of the hasty foot and cracking thunder —
its piles of snow and cheering winter fires, and, above all, to
vividly retouch the images of Christian fellowship drawn in
bygone times upon the canvas of the soul. Thank you,
brethren, editors and publishers, and if a communication
from time to time from one of so small talent for writing for
the public eye, will afford the least gratification to you or the
readers of your excellent paper, you shall have it. The
Messenger does not "backslide" but truly "grows in grace. "
And, by the way, that is a sweet little engraving, leading off
as sweet a little story. If my daughters were not absent you
might be sure of a new correspondent in response to your in-
[This friendly letter, enclosed the following poetical con-
tribution on what might seem mal-cqyropos to the season; but
which, of a hot day, brother Isbell thinks may serve as a
"refrigerant;" or as a "substitute for ice water." — Eds.]
Celestial Snow, thou hast a noiseless step,
And to the ear of sense thou hast no voice;
Yet to the soul thou dost instruction bring,
And its pleased ear turns towards thy falling flakes;
And from thy history it fain would gain
Some lesson which, if well improved, might bless.
Thou hast thy birth within the frowning clouds;
But from thy dreamy cradle comest forth
To beautify and bless the blighted world.
Just so the adverse clouds of human life
Throw out their dark'ning folds upon the gaze
Of him, who, bent on unsubstantial good,
Makes this poor world his most exalted hope;
And, freezing up his expectations fond,
Leads him to break away from early bonds,
And sends him forth to bless his fellow men.
Thy robe is white although thou hast thy path
Through regions cold and midst the mut'ring winds,
And when the Sun upon the wither'd world
Lets fall its beams thou'rt gorgeous to behold.
'Tis thus by thee the saint is emblemized —
He stands unspotted 'midst the world corrupt
To shine in peerless beauty 'neath the. Sun
Who gives the Universe its light and heat.
Where'er thy footsteps lead their action wakes —
A harbinger of cheerfulness thou art,
And profit ever flows in thy train.
So with the saint; intent upon his work
He lives not for himself, as though alone,
But strives with truth to bless his fellow men;
And thus promote their weal here on the earth
As well as help them on their way to heaven.
And like the saint, thy stay on earth is brief —
The Sun shall melt thee off from this dark sphere
Then draw thee upward with its warming rays,
As Christ shall kiss the pious soul away
From this bleak world, and lodge it safe in heaven.
ST. PAUL AT ATHENS.
In the deeply interesting history of the great apostle to
the Gentiles, there is not, perhaps, a brighter page than the
one which records his visit to Athens, and conduct there.
He had been fighting the battles of the cross for nineteen
years prior to that time, and endured much of toil and suffer-
ing. Opposition, scourgings, revilings and imprisonments
were constant attendants upon his course.- He had come to
the Attic city as swept on by the waves of persecution. But
with all the weariness of his toils and persecutions pressing
upon him, his noble Christian heart was whole within him.
Instead of seeking out some secluded retreat where he might
find repose, after his long continued and wearying labors, he
entered at once into the very center of the life and activity of
a great city, to ascertain what work his Master might have for
him to do there. He exhibited no signs of discouragement
or disposition to relax his toils on behalf of the enterprise
which engrossed his whole soul. As might be supposed, in
the great capital of pagan idolatry, he soon had full employ-
ment. The virulent haters of Christianity, his Jewish country
men, had their synagogue there; the disciples of Plato,
Zeno, Aristotle and Epicurus were there in their philosophical
pride. Temples, lofty, magnificent and numerous, towered
in architectural grandeur in every direction — splendid emblems
of that mighty and attractive superstition which held in its
golden chains the best educated minds of the world. And
every feature of this showy superstition was hostile to Christ-
ianity. Yet in the midst of its temples, its altars, the statues
of its gods and numerous votaries, the lacerated and weary
apostle found himself alone. He had no august personal
presence to inspire interest or awe in the minds of his pre-
judiced opponents. He was there, the sole representative of
the glorious, but humble and uncompromising, religion of
Christ. He was there to assault the passions and prejudices
which were the fruit of the culture of ages.
The stripling David, with the sling of a shepherd, and
a smooth stone from the brook, against Goliah of Gath, was
a glorious sight; but the fragile looking minister of Jesus,
bearing the spiritual weapons of Christian warfare, all alone,
against the very citadel of Paganism, was a spectacle of
sublimity, to command the admiration of angels and men.
Athens soon gave proof that a mighty presence was there.
The soul of Paul, stirred by the great- truths of the gospel,
and swelling and throbbing under the inspiration of God,
prompted him to vigorous action. He had courage equal
to the great demands of his circumstances. Though he had
just fled to save his life, he did not hesitate to throw it into
the scale in the mighty contest which he was now called upon
to wage. The Jews, the rival sects of philosophers, and the
superstitious multitude, were all thoroughly aroused and ex-
cited. He soon found himself before the most ancient and
august court in the world, and in the custody of his enemies.
The surrounding scenes were impressive, and their associa-
tion with the wondrous and mighty past calculated to swell
the soul with strong emotion ; but the apostle was neither
daunted nor overwhelmed. Scenes more grand, sublime and
interesting, than any that had ever transpired on Mars hill,
were doubtless then occupying his mind. He thought more
of the Hill of Calvary than the Hill of Mars, and more of the
spiritual edifice that God was building up in the world than
of the grand heathen temples by which he was surrounded.
He must not move the auditors by outward expressive action,
but he could deliver the mighty thoughts which were strug-
gling in his mind for utterance, and that, too, in appropriate
language. He did so. And such eloquence, as broke then
upon the ears of judges and spectators, had never been heard
by that ancient court during the long centuries of its existence.
Without much stretch of the imagination, one might fancy
the spirits of the old orators and philosophers hovering near
with admiring attention, while one, more powerful than they
in eloquence and logic, was shivering to pieces, with the light-
nings of truth the systems which they cherished and ad-
vocated in their lives. The true God against vain idols,
repentance, Jesus, resurrection and the final judgment, were
some of his themes. The Christian hero was victorious, the
standard of the cross was planted by his own hands amidst
the proudest monuments of Paganism, and the shattered
fortifications of superstition still tell of the triumphs of that
hour. Paul was no longer in that great city alone without
congenial spirits. The heart of a noble judge was warmed
with celestial fire, and throbbed in unison with his own; an
intelligent woman had, like some in the days of His incarna-
tion, become an admirer of Jesus ; and others, charmed by
the precious doctrines which he taught clustered around him as
the instrument of their conversion and object of their warm-
est regards. Such glory as then crowned the recently despised
stranger, never invested the brow of a victor in merely civil
contests. His was a moral victory gained on behalf of the
loftiest nature, and highfest interests of man.
Noble man ! mighty apostle ! worthy representative of
Jesus Christ ! thou art now reaping the reward of thy fidelity
in the glorious presence of Him in whose service thou didst
so bravely and unweariedly contend.
CHRIST'S AGONY IN THE GARDEN.
No scene in the history of the world's Saviour, during
his incarnation, is more deeply affecting than that presented
in his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. The most
cursory reader of the Evangelical record has his attention
arrested by the passage that describes it, and, as it passes be-
fore the mind's vision, his heart is made to throb with emotion.
It exhibits our Lord in his atoning work — the great end for
which he came and dwelt among men. The same individuals
were selected to be witnesses of the gloomy scenes of the
garden that saw the glorious ones that transpired on the
mount of transfiguration. When on the mountain, their
visions of the Saviour's glory were ravishingly delightful, but
the exhibitions of Divine majesty in the bright cloud, and the
voice that issued from it, overwhelmed them with fear. Of
the agony of the Son of God a distant view was, probably,
all that they could endure ; hence he went away ' 'about a
stone's cast" from them to drink from the cup of bitterness
placed to his lips. Even when the atoning agony was coming
upon him, he showed himself touched with the feeling of the
infirmities of his disciples, and spared them from a sight too
terrible for their capacities. It seems, however, that they
did not watch him at a distance as he designed. Mysterious,
dark, and fearful presences were in the garden and felt even
by the disciples. A sorrowful heaviness pressed upon the
Saviour, one that incited to slumber upon the disciples. The
agonizing emotions of the soul of the immaculate sufferer
threatened the body with death, and they continued to rise
and swell until ' 'great drops of blood" gushed from every pore.
It was on this occasion, we think, that "His visage was so
marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons
of men." His features were frightfully distorted by the depth
of his sufferings, and his body powerfully convulsed. But,
allowing that the body was nearly borne down by the sway of
death, was not our Lord feeling the pangs of another and
more fearful death ? "The soul that sinneth it shall die," and
as "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,"
death is due to all. Was not Christ tasting "death for every
man ?" There are those who honestly believe that no part of
the atonement was made on this occasion ; but others as
honestly believe that a considerable portion of it was made in
the garden. The writer is among the latter. It is the only
view which seems, in all respects, consistent with the record.
The anguish of that hour seems too great to be produced by
temptation alone. The Prince of Darkness was doubtless there
with hellish hosts in his train, and, by their assaults upon the
stricken Redeemer, increased his sufferings and rendered the
scene more profoundly gloomy. But, instead of being the
occasion of all his unspeakable anguish, they were made in
view of the advantages which that already existing agony
afforded them for success. The devil had met the Saviour
alone when he was hungry, and had been swept out of his
path. He hoped to succeed better when the object of his
hatred was bowed down beneath the load of man's trans-
gression. Yet here he was foiled agaim — he had to confront
the firm resistance of the immaculate sufferer, and an angel of
light more powerful than himself. He came to Christ, hoping,
doubtless, to spoil his vicarious offering, but found him invul-
nerable at every point.
Several lessons relating to the atonement appear to be
taught here more distinctly and impressively than elsewhere.
The first of these lessons relates to the independence of the
atoning sufferings from any means of external torture. No
cross, no nails, no pain-inflicting instrument whatever, is seen
about the person of the Saviour. At the very opening of his
suffererings, he exclaimed, ' 'my soul is exceeding sorrowful
even unto death." Such views had the humanity of Christ of
sin, of its blackness, and demerit, that he was "sore amazed."
And the dreadful mass of the world's sin was pressing upon
him, and, as justice hurled on it its flaming bolts, they fell
upon Him who had taken the place of man, and his soul
vibrated and throbbed, and swelled under the mighty weight
of anguish. Had not the most High had other wise designs
to accomplish, in connection with the circumstances of the
atonement, it would probably have all been accomplished in
the garden. But human depravity must have a terrible ex-
hibition in connection with the Saviour's death, and the pro-
phetic Scriptures must be fulfilled ; therefore enough trans-
pired to show how the whole could have been finished with-
out the intervention of human malice and the exhibitions of
Mount Calvary and the cross. If "without the shedding of
blood" there could be "no remission" of sins, blood was as
freely shed in Gethsemane as on the cross.
The second of the lessons taught in the scenes of the
garden relates to the depth of the sufferings endured. The
utterances of the Saviour on this occasion, expressive of his an-
guish, have no parallel in anything he said upon the cross if we
except his exclamation, "My God, my God, why hast thou for-
saken me?" Indeed, even that does not convey to the mind such
an idea of fearful distress as the evangelical description of the
scenes in the garden. His soul was "exceeding sorrowful;"
he was "sore amazed;" he cried to the Father, "If it be possi-
ble let this cup pass from me;" he sweat as it were great
drops of blood. Humanity did shudder at the bitterness of
"this cup." The prayer of the Saviour expresses this as it
was designed it should. The atoning" sufferings, in them-
selves, were horribly revolting to humanity, and were only
patiently endured for the sake of the end.
Another lesson relates to the exclusively atoning character
of Christ's sufferings. "If it be possible let this cup pass
from me," was the prayer of the sufferer. This prayer, we
believe, was uttered and recorded for the purpose of settling
all questions relating to this matter. Every speculation
should be thrown down at the sight of the prostrate, groan-
ing, bleeding and agonizing Saviour in the garden. Oh, had
there been any other way such a prayer, as that of Jesus',
would surely have been answered ! "Not as I will, but as thou
wilt," prayed the submissive one, and the dark tide of an-
guish rolled on until the full installment of the propitiatory
debt to be paid at that time was in the hands of justice.
The last lesson of which we shall speak is exemplary.
As profound as were the sufferings of Christ, he was perfectly
submissive. He shudders under the weight of agonies, but
does not recoil from them. He is bruised and lacerated by
the asperities of his dreadfully rugged pathway, but he stops
not in his course until he reaches its end. He is assaulted by
the powers of darkness, and frightful temptations mingle
their horrors with the inflictions of Divine Justice received on
behalf of sinners, and still he yields not. Let then the ob-
jects of his suffering love patiently take the buffetings of
temptation in connection with the crosses they find in the
pathway of duty. Isbell.
There is, perhaps, no passage in the evangelical history
more pleasingly interesting than that which gives an account
of the transfiguration of Christ. His most intimate and best
beloved disciples, are chosen to be witnesses of that most
glorious scene, as a reward for their interest in their Lord and
Master. Something is now to be shown them to animate
their zeal and swell their hopes. Humble as was their former
occupation, they had gained no earthly elevation or reward
by attaching themselves to the worlds Savior. That at times
they might fear they had exchanged a true religion for a false
one, and made sacrifices in vain, is natural for us to suppose.
And Christ knowing what is in man, saw fit to prepare his
disciples for their future work by answering questions, which
agitated their minds, both to the eye and the heart, in a most
impressive manner. Behold them alone — Christ the world's
Redeemer, the impetuous Peter, the considerate James, and
the meek and beloved John, on one of the lofty elevations of
the sacred land, far above the din of a corrupt and bustling
world. As these disciples gazed upon their Master in his garb
of humility, what thoughts and misgivings may have been
gathering in their minds, when lo! his contenance becomes
radiant with celestial light, and his vestments of earthly fabric
blaze with heavenly splendor! Every trace of his earthly hu-
miliation is lost amidst the brightness of his native glory. Here
then is the Master they have chosen, not in his assumed, but
his rightful garb. Now his condescension and not their sacrifices,
furnishes the absorbing thought. An important question is
settled in a most thrillingly interesting manner; they have not
lost, but gained immensely, by their attachment to Him who
is known as Jesus of Nazareth.
But, if they have done gloriously, have they done right?
The company increases. Two personages, invested with a
glory like that which beams from the person of their Lord,
appear and enter into harmonious converse with him. They
are Moses and Elijah, one, the head of the Jewish and the
other the head of the Prophetic Dispensation. They converse
upon the great event of the world — the death of Christ. Moses
had pointed to it with his typical finger, and the prophets had
made it a prominent theme of impassioned discourse, and
wrote its effecting history centuries before; and Christ was to
be the passive actor in the bloody scene of suffering which
they had portrayed in the most striking colors. All was agree-
ment, not a point of difference was raised between the as-
sembled heads of the great dispensation of light to a sin-shaded
world. Cheer up then ye followers of the Jew-hated Nazarene,
for you are no apostates, but traveling along the illuminated
pathway of revelation, you are just emerging into the full
beams of gospel day. But see! — -There comes the Shekinah
— the symbol of God's presence about which you have heard
and read so much in connection with the history of your
fathers! You may expect now a communication which you
may not forget. Hear that voice. — "This is my beloved Son
in whom I am well pleased." There now, you have been led
by his discourse — fraught with the treasures of wisdom, and
by the wondrous miracles which he has wrought, to embrace
the Mesiah. Moses and Elijah come from, the realms of light,
and sitting down beneath the outbeamings of His glory, rev-
erently fraternize with them; and God, drawing nigh to you
in the ancient type of glorious majesty and excellence, has
spoken to you distinctly, and told you to hear Him. The way
of duty is clear before you — and there is no room for further
Peter was quite beside himself under the contemplation
of the ravishing glories of his Lord and his two heavenly visi-
tors, and it is no wonder that both he and his brother disci-
ples were quite overwhelmed with the awful glory of the
speaking God. Emotions of fear mingled with the rapturous
throbbings of their strangely excited hearts. There they lie
amidst the glory that crowns the lofty solitude, made sacred
by scenes such as had never transpired on earth before. It
requires the familiar touch and voice of their Divine Master to
raise them up from under the overpowering weight of glory
that rested upon them. They had been favored with a view
of the splendor and majesty of their Lord, and abundant
proof that he was the great Teacher sent from God who was
to be heard. But this was not all. They were to be teachers
like Moses and Elijah, and that the world would oppose them
was clear. Very likely they must suffer martyrdom, and, if
that does not take place, die they certainly must, and cease
to have a visible existence here. Where will the active think-
ing spirit be? Shut up in the loathsome grave with the cor-
rupt body? — Be dormant? Unconscious? No! They had
just seen Moses and Elijah, and one of them died and the
other disappeared long ago — centuries before. They were
both living — whether both in heaven, or one in heaven and
the other in paradise, we may not know, but perhaps they did,
but, at all events, they were having a conscious and glorious
existence at the time of the transfiguration. Here was
something to cheer and animate the disciples in their subse-
quent struggles with the hosts of hell. And Peter did re-
member ' 'the excellent glory" in the mount, and the "voice"
that spake to them from it, when he was sturdily doing battle
under the eye of ''the Chief Shepherd." He could afford to
die, as it was only an exchange of one stage of existence less
glorious for one vastly greater. It is true the body must
sojourn in the realms of corruption and dishonor for a season,
yet even the triumphs of death are comparatively short. The
disciples saw this on the Mount of Transfiguration. They
were doubtless made to understand that the transfigured body
of Christ was a full representation of the glorified body of
man after the resurrection. It is very probable that they
saw a complete parallel between the bodies of Christ and
Elijah, and, perhaps, between those of Christ and Moses.
Whether the body of Moses, which could not be found, was
raised and taken to heaven, is what the scriptures do not tell
us, and hence we cannot decide with certainty. But proof
enough was given of the glory of the resurrection body in
connection with the transfiguration of Christ, to satisfy them
that though their bodies might be "sown in corruption," they
would be "raised in incorruption," if "sown in dishonor"
they would be "raised in glory." Hence with this precious
remembrance ever cheering their hopes, - they counted not
their lives dear unto them, while bearing forward the stand-
ard of the cross of Christ. They could well afford to die in
a good cause if such a glorious life of body and spirit awaited
them beyond the scenes of strife.
Such, we apprehend, were some of the lessons taught by
the scenes of the transfiguration, to the disciples, and through
them, to the world. Isbell.
MlDDLEBURY, I 853.
The word heaven signifies elevation. It is used in the
Holy Scriptures to designate a place and state of the highest
elevation. Heaven is the immediate dwelling place of God —
the place where He manifests His glory to a greater extent
than in any other part of His dominion. It must, therefore,
be the lofty and blissful residence of other pure and exalted
beings, for if God manifests His glory, there must be witness-
es of that declaration of Himself. He is the perfection of
glory to Himself everywhere, and can only manifest His glory
for the benefit of others. The glorious beings who dwell
with God and behold His glory, are called angels, because
they are near at hand and always ready to perforin any ser-
vice, or deliver any messages, which He may assign to them.
Happy Spirits! Well may they fill their pure and bright
abode with ravishing strains of praisefui music!
Heaven is the abode of redeemed, regenerated, purified
and glorified man. In its blissful mansions he will realize a
plentitude of fruition greater than was lost in Eden. When
man is nearest to God, beholds most of His glory, is com-
pletely delivered from all the effects of sin, is in the likeness of
God, has a spiritualized and glorified body, and is in the
midst of scenes that respond to all the aspirations of his per-
fected nature, and fill the soul with unutterable bliss, there is
Heaven. The soul, emancipated from sin, holding com-
munion with God, comforted, cheered and strengthened, by
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, delighting in the commun-
ion of the saints and living the life of faith, knows much of
the nature and joy of Heaven, here upon earth. But temp-
tations, toils, pains and sorrows, limit these heavenly experi-
ences here. But what we may learn experimentally of Heav-
en, even here, is cheering to our hopes. Is the place of pure,
departed spirits, or Paradise, identical with Heaven? Christ
met the penitent thief in Paradise, yet, after His resurrection,
He told Mary that He had 'mot yet ascended to His Father
and her Father, to His God and her God."
Paradise, as its name imports, is a place of delight, an
exalted place, but is it the final abode of the saints, with
their spiritualized and glorified bodies? It is the tvhole man
that reaches the acme of human bliss, in Heaven, that ranges
amidst the heavenly scenery, drinks in the intellectual joys of
an unbounded realm of untrammeled thought and has ever-
lasting life, in the society of pure and lofty intelligences.
"Fair land! could mortal eyes
But half its charms explore,
How would our spirits long to rise,
And dwell on earth no more!"
Read before the Ministerial Association, Nov. 2, 1870.